USDA Invests $26 Million in Rural Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Improvements in Michigan

Jessica Mancel
East Lansing
Release Date
May 27, 2020

Projects will Improve Water Infrastructure, Public Health and Environmental Quality for 20,000 Rural Residents and Businesses

EAST LANSING, Mich., May 27, 2020U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) State Director Jason Allen announced that the department is investing $281 million in 106 projects to improve water and wastewater infrastructure in rural communities in 36 states and Puerto Rico. USDA is funding the projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program.

“These investments will help improve water quality and safety for many rural Michigan residents. They will replace old, fragile systems with new ones and allow upgrades to facilities that are decades old, boosting efficiencies and addressing environmental hazards,” Allen said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to partnering with rural communities to help them improve their infrastructure, because when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”

USDA is funding projects in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Eligible applicants include rural cities, towns and water districts. The funds can be used for drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems in rural communities that meet population limits. 

In Michigan, there are ten rural communities that will receive funding:

  • The city of Houghton will use a $1,926,000 million loan and a $974,000 grant for water and sewer improvements as part of their Phase Three Plan. The existing sewer is over 100 years old and is in poor condition. The old sewer main is also susceptible to inflow and infiltration.  The project will replace the sewer main on nine streets. The 120-year-old water main has deteriorated and is undersized for current water demands. Michigan Department of Transportation will also be replacing roadway in this section which will save the water customers the expense of restoration. Approximately one mile of water main will be replaced, along with replacement of the system wide generator. The water system is comprised of distribution main, elevated tank, wells, booster stations and treatment plant. These upgrades will serve 3,856 users.
  • The city of Manistee will use a $300,000 loan to rehabilitate deficient sewer mains in three flow districts. The city has had combined sewer overflows from the wastewater treatment plant to the Manistee River. This project will address this health and safety violation and serves 6,491 users. These additional Rural Development funds are needed to complete the project that was initially funded in 2018 for $4.4 million.
  • The City of Manistique will use a $225,000 loan and a $1,034,000 million grant to replace undersized water mains and fix the current sewer system which is currently not in compliance with permitting because of combined sewer overflows. It will address eliminating sources of excessive inflow and infiltration into the sewer system This project will serve 3,171 users. These additional Rural Development funds are needed to complete the project that was initially funded in 2018 for $3.1 million.
  • The City of Martin will use a $567,000 loan and a $150,000 grant to improve the sewer system. An evaluation of the system revealed that two pump stations are in very poor to fair condition and lack several recommended safety measures. The project provides for lift station upgrades and manhole repairs. The sewer system serves 167 users.
  • The City of McBain will use a $2,048,000 million loan and a $4,444,000 million grant to improve their municipal water system. The proposed project will replace watermain, replace wells, modify the storage tank and install water meters, along with the construction of an iron removal plant which will alleviate the poor water quality from the well field. The water system serves 394 users.
  • The City of Petersburg will use a $4,821,000 million loan to improve the municipal water system constructed in the 1940s. The latest improvement was done in 2003. The existing watermain is old and undersized using asbestos cement. The community has experienced many watermain breaks in the past few years. Almost 20 streets will be upgraded by horizontally drilling and installing parallel water mains to the existing water mains. The sewer system serves 1,304 users.
  • The Dorr Township-Leighton Township Wastewater Authority in Allegan County will use a $2,346,000 million loan to help finance the expansion of their wastewater treatment plant. The plant serves 1,092 users.
  • The Village of Benzonia will use a $140,000 loan to make water system improvements. The project will replace various sections of watermain, install a new well, paint the water tower, install a generator and replace water meters. The water system serves 497 users.
  • The Village of Blissfield will use a $6,849,000 million loan to improve their sewer system. The sewer collection system and wastewater treatment facility (WWTF) was installed in the early 1950s. The collection system includes 25 miles of gravity sewers and six pump stations. The WWTF has been treating sewage flows which exceeds the plant rated capacity. The village is currently under an Administrative Consent Order to correct plant deficiencies so there will be several improvements to the WWTF. The sewer system serves 1,552 users.
  • The Village of Ravenna will use a $132,000 loan to rehabilitate and repair the lift stations and the wastewater treatment plant. The sewer system serves 1,195 users. These additional Rural Development funds are needed to complete the project that was initially funded in 2018 for $1.9 million.

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

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. In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic.

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. For more information, visit

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