Six years in the making, the Village of Clearwater, Nebraska is about to have a new waste water lagoon system with some assistance from USDA Rural Development.
In 2015, the village was put into a precarious position. Their waste water lagoon needed to be replaced and the cost was out of reach at more than $4 million. The village’s engineering firm, Miller and Associates, reached out to USDA Rural Development, who was able to provide the village with three grants totaling just more than $1.5 million and two loans totaling just more than $2.1 million, utilizing the Water and Waste Disposal Direct Loans and Grants program.
This federal investment, along with state and village funds, were used to help the village fund replacement of the community’s waste water lagoon, lift station, and manhole repair and replacement, as well as purchasing all system underground piping to tie all the new components together.
According to Steven Hankla, chairman of the board, Village of Clearwater, he’s pleased with the current outcome of the project.
“The old lagoon was no longer viable, so we had to come up with a solution to ensure the health and safety of our community,” said Hankla. “It was a challenging process, but in the end I’m pleased with what we’ve been able to accomplish. It would flood before, but it’s going to be a wonderful thing for our citizens that our new lagoon is away from the river.”
August is National Water Quality Month, which is dedicated to making the most of the relatively small amount of fresh water. Having clean water is vital to individual health, our collective agricultural needs, and the needs of our environment.
The USDA Rural Development Water and Waste Disposal Direct Loans and Grants provide funding for clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage disposal, sanitary solid waste disposal, and storm water drainage to communities in eligible rural areas. Qualified applicants who are not otherwise able to obtain commercial credit on reasonable terms include most state and local governmental entities, private nonprofits, and federally recognized tribes in areas with a population of 10,000 or less.
This program helps very small, financially distressed rural communities extend and improve water and waste treatment facilities that serve local households and businesses within the community. Good practices can save tax dollars, improve the natural environment, and help manufacturers and businesses to locate or expand operations.
In Nebraska, the following specialists are available to assist applicants apply for this and other Community Program funds:
North Platte Office – Sara Pierce (308) 221-3689
Kearney Office – Dave Fulton (308) 455-9844 or Kaleb Browning (308) 455-9838
Norfolk Office – Anthony Guenther (402) 371-5350 ext. 120 or Marla Ourada (402) 437-5598
Lincoln Office – Marshall Stephens (402) 437-5732 or Niki Dittmer (402) 437-5737
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs, and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements in business development, housing, community facilities, and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal, and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/ne. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.