Ag Secretary announces over $175M for rural water projects

WASHINGTON, DC, Aug, 25, 2009 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the selection of $175.8 million in water and environmental projects that are being funded immediately through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act...

• Recovery Act funds will help improve infrastructure across rural America

WASHINGTON, DC, Aug, 25, 2009 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of $175.8 million in water and environmental projects that are being funded immediately through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The projects will help provide safe drinking water and improved wastewater treatment for rural communities in 27 states. To date, USDA has announced $1.47 billion for water and environmental project loans and grants through ARRA, benefiting communities throughout the country.

"The Recovery Act water and wastewater projects we are announcing today support the Obama administration's goal of rebuilding and revitalizing the nation's rural infrastructure," Vilsack said. "This funding will provide reliable drinking water and sanitary waste disposal while creating and saving jobs in rural America."

The City of Granite Falls, Minn., for example, will receive an $8.1 million loan and a $6 million grant to replace their existing water treatment plant with a new, more efficient plant. The old plant was constructed in the 1920s and is situated on a floodplain. When flooding occurs, the citizens of Granite Falls are often without safe drinking water for weeks. The new plant will not only be built away from the floodplain, but will have the capacity to both accommodate the water usage of the current population and that of the future population, which is expected to increase. As a result of this project, local businesses and residents will be assured safe and reliable water every day and a healthier environment in which to live.

Meanwhile, the Village of Dryden, N.Y., will receive a $3.6 million loan and a $2.9 million grant to upgrade and rehabilitate their wastewater treatment plant, which has been overwhelmed due to heavy rains and has exceeded its discharge rate. The upgrades will protect local environmental resources such as Fall Creek and Virgil Creek from contamination. In addition, the installation of upgraded meters and other components will better serve Dryden's residents well into the future, by improving operations and the long-term sustainability of the system.

The AARA funding announced today is being administered by USDA Rural Development's Water and Environmental Program, which 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.

>> Click here for a complete list of award recipients, by state

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.

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