USDA Awards $547 M to Fund Water Projects

Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer on Aug. 15 announced the award of $547 million in loans and grants to provide safe drinking water and improved wastewater treatment systems for rural towns and communities.

"A majority of these half-billion dollars for investment in rural water systems is the result of USDA moving the 2008 farm bill funding out to communities in a timely manner," Schafer said during a visit to the USDA Service Center in Tuscaloosa, Ala. "Maintaining quality of rural life with safe and reliable water systems is vital to the health of the surrounding agricultural community."

For example, in west Alabama, the Sumter County Sewer Authority will receive more than $2.9 million to construct a sewer system for the towns of Gainesville, Emelle, and Geiger. In the city of Port St. Joe, Fla., $8.6 million will bring the city's wastewater treatment plant into compliance with state environmental regulations. In the rural community of Taylorsville, Ind., the Eastern Bartholomew Water Corporation will now have $4.8 million to upgrade the water transmission main for 5,377 customers.

Loans and grants are being awarded to rural communities in 46 states and Puerto Rico through USDA Rural Development's Water and Environmental Program. The 2008 farm bill also known as the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, provides $356 million to local communities for water and wastewater projects. Another $191 million is being distributed as part of the normal 2008 state allocation funding process.

Funding of each project is contingent upon the recipient meeting the requirements of the agreement. For a complete list of recipients, visit

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