USDA is investing $1.2 billion to help rebuild and improve rural water infrastructure for 936,000 rural Americans living in 46 states. The announcement was made Dec. 4 by Anne Hazlett, assistant to the U.S. secretary of agriculture for Rural Development.
Ten of the projects are assisting more than 52,000 rural Iowa residents across the state. These 10 projects are receiving a total of close to $59.2 million in loan and grant funding from USDA Rural Development.
“Access to water is a key driver for economic opportunity and quality of life in rural communities,” Hazlett says. “Under the leadership of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities, in building prosperity through modern water infrastructure.”
Funding provides foundation for economic growth
USDA is providing financing for 234 water and environmental infrastructure projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. The funding can be used for drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.
“Robust, state-of-the-art water infrastructure provides a firm foundation for economic development and prosperity in rural areas,” says Grant Menke, USDA Rural Development state director in Iowa. “By partnering with rural communities and embracing innovation, USDA is committed to ensuring rural Iowans have the infrastructure needed to thrive.”
Following is information on the Iowa projects:
• Southern Iowa Rural Water Association (Creston in Union County) is receiving $22.22 million to develop a water treatment plant. This project will allow the association to transition to owning its own water source and treatment facility. This will result in improved water service for about 33,500 rural customers in the association’s 12-county service area in southern Iowa.
• City of Anita (Cass County) is receiving a $2.92 million loan and a $335,000 grant to rehabilitate the city’s wastewater treatment system. The treatment plant isn’t in compliance with federal standards. A submerged attached growth reactor treatment system and an ultraviolet disinfection treatment system will be built. Three-phase power will be extended to the lagoon system, and the lift station will be upgraded.
• City of Marathon (Buena Vista County) is receiving a $605,000 loan and $1.71 million grant to rehabilitate its wastewater collection system. The existing system for this community of 234 residents doesn’t meet regulatory standards and has experienced rising operation and maintenance costs, as well as equipment failures. Additional funding includes a $430,000 USDA Rural Development loan and a $1,216,000 USDA Rural Development grant in May 2018 to construct Phase I of this project, a three-cell lagoon.
• City of Livermore (Humboldt County) is receiving a $160,000 loan to complete recommended structural tower repairs to bring the city’s water tower up to the American Water Works Association and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards. Additional funding for this project includes a $960,000 USDA Rural Development loan and an $840,000 USDA Rural Development grant.
• City of Pisgah (Harrison County) is receiving a $583,000 loan to help update its wastewater system. A cured-in-place pipe liner will be installed, and the community's lift station and control panel will be rehabilitated. These improvements will help reduce out-of-season discharges from the controlled discharge lagoon by reducing inflow and infiltration. Additional funding for the project includes a $26,000 USDA pre-development grant and a $9,450 applicant contribution.
• Logansport Water System (Boone County) is receiving an $840,000 loan and a $576,000 grant to update its aging water distribution system. New water mains, meter pits and curb stops will be installed. This project will improve water service to approximately 202 residents in the Logansport subdivision, located in an unincorporated area of Boone County.
• City of Lewis (Cass County) is receiving a $720,000 loan and $628,000 grant to update its water treatment plant, install new water meters and replace approximately 3,500 feet of water mains. This project will help the city update its aging, deteriorating water infrastructure, and allow the city, population 433, to better provide safe and potable water to its business and residential users. Additional funding for the project includes a $20,000 USDA Special Evaluation Assistance for Rural Communities and Households (SEARCH) grant.
• City of Adair (Adair and Guthrie counties) is receiving a $2 million loan and a $1.32 million grant to help replace its water treatment plant with a reverse-osmosis system. The project will serve 781 residents and will meet all environmental regulations pertaining to the water system.
• City of Adel (Dallas County) is receiving a $10.88 million loan and a $4.66 million grant to improve and expand the city’s wastewater treatment plant. The project is needed to meet minimum discharge levels required by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Adel has a population of 3,682.
• Iowa Lakes Regional Water (Spencer in Clay County) is receiving a $5.43 million loan and $3.6 million grant to develop the Osgood well field and construct a reverse-osmosis water treatment plant. The project will provide a safe and high-quality water supply, as well as allow for an increased supply of water for future population growth in northwest Iowa. About 11,600 people will benefit from this new well and water treatment plant, with many more positively impacted in the future.
Task Force on Ag and Rural Prosperity
In April 2017, President Donald Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Ag and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Perdue presented the task force’s findings to Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.
To view the entire report, visit Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity. In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, view the Rural Prosperity infographic.
Source: USDA Rural Development