WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 20, 2016) – This week, representatives from USDA’s Rural Development team will be celebrating Earth Day by visiting newly funded projects that will improve rural water quality and safety in 33 states across the country. USDA is investing $183 million in 60 water and wastewater infrastructure projects through Rural Development’s Water and Environmental Program (WEP), which provides technical assistance and financing to develop drinking water and waste disposal systems for communities with fewer than 10,000 residents.
“Safe drinking water and sanitary waste disposal systems are vital not only to public health, but also to the economic vitality of small communities,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Helping rural communities build and upgrade their water infrastructure is one more way USDA strengthens rural areas. Building and maintaining water infrastructure creates jobs, boosts the economy, and provides rural families with safe, reliable water and wastewater facilities that improve the environment.”
In Ohio, the Village of Newtonsville and the surrounding area will benefit from a loan of $4,218,000 and a grant of $2 million to the Clermont County Commissioners. Funds will be used to construct a new wastewater collection and treatment system for nearly 400 residents. Newtonsville is situated along the East Fork Little Miami River basin – which flows into the Little Miami River – a state and national scenic river. Roughly 40 percent of 171 systems on line in the area are either in failure or at risk of failure. The new wastewater treatment facility will help protect the Little Miami River watershed – which flows through all or part of 11 Ohio counties – safeguarding the health of area residents and helping to protect the environment.
Seventeen of the Earth Day recipients announced today are receiving funding priority through a 2014 Farm Bill provision that encourages communities to adopt regional economic development plans. These projects are centered on collaboration and long-term growth strategies. They leverage outside resources and capitalize on a region’s unique strengths.
Funding for each project announced today is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan, grant or loan/grant agreement.
For more information, visit www.usda.gov/results.
(Photo: USDA Rural Development announces it has awarded a $4.2 million loan and $2 million grant to Clermont County to help construct a new wastewater treatment system in Newtonsville. From left, Chris Rowland and Lyle Bloom, Water Resources Department; Cindy Cameron and Ashley Kelly, USDA; Commissioner Bob Proud, Commissioner David Uible.)