Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the selection of more than $615.8 million in water and environmental projects that are being funded immediately with federal funds provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The projects will help provide safe drinking water and improved wastewater treatment systems for rural towns and communities in 34 states.
"Aging water and waste infrastructure systems threaten the ability of rural communities to provide clean, reliable drinking water to residents and protect precious environmental resources," said Vilsack. "These investments will help bring increased economic benefits to rural America by providing needed water, water systems and creating jobs."
The funding announced will be allocated to 193 projects and create or save an estimated 12,385 jobs. They are the first of many projects that will receive Recovery Act funds to improve rural water and waste disposal systems. For example, the Yuma County Improvement District in Arizona has been selected to receive $14.6 million to connect approximately 1,000 homes to a municipal treatment system. The project will reduce groundwater contamination from failing septic systems and improve the water quality of the Colorado River.
In New Mexico, the Village of Ruidoso and City of Ruidoso Downs have been selected to receive $9.7 million to build a wastewater treatment plant that will serve approximately 12,000 people. The current treatment plant's outflow runs into the environmentally sensitive Rio Ruidoso and is not in compliance with water quality regulations. The new plant will treat combined flows from both communities before they are discharged into the stream.
USDA Rural Development's Water and Environmental Program provides loans and grants to ensure that the necessary investments are made in water and wastewater infrastructure to deliver safe drinking water and protect the environment in rural areas. More information about USDA rural development can be found at www.rurdev.usda.gov. Funding of individual recipients is contingent upon their meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreement.
President Obama signed The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law on Feb. 17, 2009. It is designed to jumpstart the nation's economy, create or save millions of jobs and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so our country can thrive in the 21st century. The Act includes measures to modernize our nation's infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, provide tax relief, and protect those in greatest need.
More information about USDA's Recovery Act efforts is available at www.usda.gov/recovery. More information about the Federal government's efforts on the Recovery Act is available at www.recovery.gov.