Ag Secretary announces $143M for rural drinking water, wastewater projects

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the selection of nearly $143 million in water and environmental projects that are being funded immediately through the Recovery Act...

• Recovery Act funds will help improve infrastructure across rural America

WASHINGTON, DC, May 28, 2009 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the selection of nearly $143 million in water and environmental projects that are being funded immediately 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 21 states.

"President Obama's investments in these projects will ensure that residents have reliable drinking water in addition to helping local economies thrive as a result of the improved infrastructure," said Vilsack.

In Wells Co., Ind., the Town of Ossian has been selected to receive a $4.5 million loan to replace a 75-year old cast iron water main distribution system. In the last three years, the system has experienced nearly 150 water main breaks, resulting in public health advisories to boil drinking water. The new system will provide a reliable and safe source of drinking water and adequate fire flow pressure for the 1,173 residential and 85 commercial customers.

The Defiance County Auglaize River Project in Defiance Co., Ohio, has been selected to receive a $5.2 million loan to build a wastewater and sewage collection system. The area has received environmental citations due to residential sewage discharging into the Auglaize River. The new treatment facility will be used by residents of Defiance and neighboring Paulding County, improving the living conditions of the area.

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. 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
>> More information about the Federal government's efforts on the Recovery Act
>> Download the USDA project list for water and wastewater funding [.pdf]

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