Biden-Harris Administration Invests $307 Million in Rural Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Improvements

July 14, 2021

These water and wastewater improvements encompass 34 states and Puerto Rico.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the USDA is investing $307 million to modernize rural drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in 34 states and Puerto Rico.

“Every community needs safe, reliable and modern water and wastewater systems,” said Vilsack in the USDA news release. “The consequences of decades of disinvestment in physical infrastructure have fallen most heavily on communities of color. This is why USDA is investing in water infrastructure in rural and Tribal communities that need it most – to help them build back better, stronger and more equitably than ever before.”

The projects will be financed through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program, which according to USDA, provides funding for: clean and reliable drinking water systems; sanitary sewage disposal; sanitary solid waste disposal; and storm water drainage to households and businesses in eligible rural areas.

The investments will target outdated pipes and service lines in rural communities, ultimately improving infrastructure for 250,000 residents and businesses in these communities, according to USDA.

The investments were announced in: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Puerto Rico.

According to USDA, some examples of these improvements include: 

  • The Red Rock Rural Water System in southwestern Minnesota receiving a $905,000 loan and a $445,000 grant to build a water treatment plant in Great Bend;
  • New Mexico’s Ohkay Owingeh receiving a $610,000 loan and a $1.6 million grant to build a wastewater treatment plant on Pueblo lands in Rio Arriba County;
  • Mena, Arkansas receiving a $6,610,000 loan and a $1,552,500 grant to make improvements to the city's water treatment plant; And
  • Ohio’s Gallia County Board of Commissioners receiving an $887,000 loan and a $1.5 million grant to provide additional financing for a wastewater collection system in portions of Green and Springfield townships.

There are 96 projects across these 43 states and Puerto Rico, targeting an array of water issues including: drinking water quality, storm water improvements, and water and wastewater improvements.  

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About the Author

Cristina Tuser

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