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USDA Wants Better Rural
Drinking Water

Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer has announced the award of $547 million in loans and grants to provide safe drinking water and improved wastewater treatment systems for rural towns and communities.

“A majority of these half-billion dollars for investment in rural water systems is the result of USDA moving the 2008 Farm Bill funding out to communities in a timely manner,” Schafer says after visiting a USDA Service Center in Alabama.

“Maintaining quality of rural life with safe and reliable water systems is vital to the health of the surrounding agricultural community.”

Sewer Systems Improved

For example, in west Alabama, the Sumter County Sewer Authority will receive more than $2.9 million to construct a sewer system for the towns of Gainesville, Emelle and Geiger.

In the city of Port St. Joe, Fla., $8.6 million will bring the city’s wastewater treatment plant into compliance with state environmental regulations. In the rural community of Taylorsville, Ind., the Eastern Bartholomew Water Corp. will now have $4.8 million to upgrade the water transmission main for 5,377 customers.

Loans and grants are being awarded to rural communities in 46 states and Puerto Rico through USDA Rural Development’s Water and Environmental Program.

The 2008 Farm Bill, also known as the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, provides $356 million to local communities for water and wastewater projects. The Administration recommended this funding to reduce the backlog of these types of proposed projects in its Farm Bill proposals.

Requirements Must Be Met

Funding of each project is contingent upon the recipient meeting the requirements of the agreement. For a complete list of recipients, go to http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/.

USDA Rural Development’s mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents.

USDA contributed information for this article.


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