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USDA Rural Development Invests $15.3 Million to Assist Nine Rural Iowa Communities with Water System Improvements

Darin Leach
Des Moines
Release Date

Acting Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley today announced that USDA is investing $192 million in 71 projects located across 29 states to improve rural water infrastructure. Nine of those projects, totaling $15.3 million, are assisting residents living in rural Iowa communities.

“President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue were very clear when they directed Rural Development to identify and meet rural water needs as a foundational pillar in improving rural infrastructure,” Baxley said. “Safe and reliable water infrastructure is critical to the health, safety and economic vitality of rural America. Without access to safe water and functional wastewater treatment, sustainable growth in rural areas is not possible.”

USDA is making the $192 million investment through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. Rural communities, water districts and other eligible entities can use the funds for drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems in rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.

Below are the investments announced today assisting rural Iowans:

  • The city of Sigourney (Keokuk County), Iowa, population 2,059, is receiving a $3,850,000 million loan to update its wastewater treatment system. The city will purchase a back-up generator, install a new aeration system and construct a submerged, activated growth reactor system. These improvements will enable the system to meet new ammonia limits set by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. 
  • The city of Ellsworth (Hamilton County), Iowa, population, 531, is receiving a $300,000 loan and $100,000 grant to provide additional financing for a stormwater improvement project. The project will alleviate reoccurring localized flooding in the community and will address health and safety concerns and property damage. 
  • Squaw Valley South Subdivision (Story County) (aka South Squaw Valley Association) is receiving a $1,400,000 loan to demolish their wastewater treatment plant and replace it with an activated sludge treatment plant. The new plant will replace a nearly 40-year-old facility that is quickly deteriorating and nearing the end of its useful life. The plant will also meet new ammonia and disinfection requirements set by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
  • The city of Blairsburg (Hamilton County), population 215, is receiving a $660,000 loan and $300,000 grant to improve its wastewater system. The project will construct a new lift station and a new transmission line from the lift station to the lagoon. The current lift station has insufficient pumping capacity and does not meet current design standards. As a result, wastewater backs up into basements and discharges through the top of manholes throughout the community.
  • The city of Kimballton (Audubon County), population, 322, is receiving a $1,461,000 loan and $1,400,000 grant to make significant capital improvements to its municipal water system. Funds from this project will be used to replace water mains, install new piping to create a looped distribution system, construct a 50,000-gallon elevated storage tower, purchase a back-up generator and make various repairs and updates to the water treatment plant. These improvements will update the city’s aging infrastructure and improve water pressure throughout the community. 
  • The city of Lewis (Cass County), population 433, is receiving a $1,041,000 loan and $1,000,000 grant to improve its wastewater collection system, including spot repairs in 14 locations, lining 5,000 feet of pipe, repairing manholes, constructing a third cell in the lagoon and adding ultra-violet disinfection to the treatment system. The repairs and new treatment will help the city meet new Iowa Department of Natural Resources testing limits.
  • The city of Massena (Cass County), population 414, is receiving a $925,000 loan and $927,000 grant to improve its wastewater treatment facility. The lagoons will be updated with a submerged attached growth reactor system, and ultraviolet disinfection will be installed. Without these repairs and updates, the treatment facility will fail to meet new compliance limitations for ammonia-nitrogen and E. coli.
  • The city of Dow City (Crawford County), population 510, is receiving a $557,000 loan to construct a new well. Both of the city’s current wells will be taken out of service because water from them contains high nitrate levels. The new well will ensure city residents have access to safe and reliable drinking water.
  • The city of Martensdale (Warren County), population 465 is receiving a $1,000,000 loan and $400,000 grant to improve its sanitary collection system to reduce excessive inflow and infiltration. The project will consist of sewer main and manhole rehabilitation and/or replacement, lining approximately 6,000 feet and replacing the trunk main to the treatment facility with 15-inch pipe.

USDA is announcing investments today in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

Congress appropriated $2.9 billion for USDA Water and Environmental Program loans and  grants in fiscal year 2019. USDA will make additional funding announcements in coming weeks.

 View the interactive RD Apply tool or contact one of USDA Rural Development’s state or field offices for application or eligibility information.

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.

To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas.

Contact USDA Rural Development

Information on programs available through USDA Rural Development is available by visiting www.rd.usda.gov/ia or by calling (515) 284-4663.

USDA Rural Development has 11 offices across the state to serve the 1.7 million Iowans living in rural communities and areas.  Office locations include a State Office in Des Moines, along with Area Offices in Albia, Atlantic, Humboldt, Indianola, Iowa Falls, Le Mars, Mount Pleasant, Storm Lake, Tipton and Waverly.