The nation’s rural water and sewer systems are getting a $5.2 billion boost in loans and grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The department has begun approving an increased amount of grants and loans to upgrade and rebuild drinking-water, stormwater-drainage and sewer systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents. The funding comes from the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program.
Congress increased funding for USDA loans and grants from $1.2 billion last fiscal year to $5.2 billion this fiscal year. The funding includes $4 billion in loans, which the USDA is encouraging rural communities and systems to apply for.
On July 30, the agency announced $126 million in loans and $37 million in grants for rural water and sewer systems in 25 states: Alabama, California, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
- A $4.9 million loan and a $3.7 million grant to Greenview, Illinois, population 778, to build a wastewater collection and treatment facility.
- A $706,000 loan and an $815,000 grant to Wadesboro, North Carolina, population 5,841, to improve its water distribution system by installing new pipes and hydrants.
- A $300,000 loan and a $638,000 grant to the Wheelers Point Sanitary District in Baudette, Minnesota, to construct a sewer collection system.
The money must be used to maintain, upgrade or build water and sewer systems, the USDA says. Funding can be applied for online at RD Apply or through one of USDA Rural Development’s state or field offices.