Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Funding To Improve Water Systems in Rural Communities

Sept. 20, 2010
ARRA-funded projects aim to improve water quality and create jobs

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced funding for 89 projects to protect public health and the environment by improving water quality and public sanitation services in 32 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Vilsack made the national announcement while touring a water system improvement project funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

"Investments in water and wastewater projects like this one in Berlin will help deliver safe drinking water and protect the environment throughout rural America," Vilsack said. "These projects advance the Obama Administration's economic recovery goals to provide reliable services in rural America. They create jobs and will support more job creation by supporting economic development initiatives."

Vilsack toured the wastewater treatment plant at a ceremony in Berlin, a small rural community on Maryland's eastern shore. The town received an $11.8 million ARRA award in Sept. 2009 to upgrade its wastewater treatment facility. Celebrations like today's in Berlin will continue across the country as hundreds of ARRA projects continue to bring economic development opportunities to local communities.

Secretary Vilsack said today's announcement provides $445.3 million for 89 water and wastewater infrastructure projects in local communities through the ARRA. Two of the projects announced today are also in Maryland and total about $20 million. To date, USDA has announced $3.26 billion in ARRA funds for 884 water and environmental projects across the nation.

Orangeburg County in rural South Carolina has been selected to receive a $2.8 million loan and a $2.5 million grant to provide drinking water to more than 200 customers who currently do not have public water service. The project includes the construction of more than 20 miles of water mains and two 300,000 gal elevated storage tanks, as well as the construction of approximately 14 miles of water main, valves and fire hydrants.

The city of Morton in rural Minnesota has been selected to receive a $1.5 million loan and a $953,000 grant to replace a sewer main, upgrade the main lift station, and improve the wastewater treatment facility. These improvements will eliminate high levels of infiltration and inflow, and prevent wastewater being bypassed to the Minnesota River. This funding will eliminate a threat to the public health and environment.

In rural Kentucky, the Sharpsburg Water District serves Nicholas and Bath Counties and has been selected to receive a $642,000 loan and a $345,600 grant to replace service tubing and meters for approximately 300 customers. It will also install new waterlines in order to correct numerous water leaks in the existing distribution system and ensure an adequate water supply for 1,456 existing customers in Bath County. Bath County is one of Kentucky's persistent poverty counties and part of the Appalachian Chain.

To see a complete list of award recipients by state, please visit

Source: USDA

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