Water Infrastructure Projects to Address Barriers Communities of Color Face Accessing Public Health in Rural America
OHKAY OWINGEH, N.M., July 7, 2021 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $307 million to modernize rural drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in 34 states and Puerto Rico (PDF, 224 KB).
The investments being announced today follow President Biden’s announcement last week of a Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework that will make the largest investment in clean drinking water in American history. The Framework will replace all of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines, helping address barriers faced by communities of color, Tribal communities, and people who live in rural America.
“Every community needs safe, reliable and modern water and wastewater systems,” said Secretary Vilsack. “The consequences of decades of disinvestment in physical infrastructure have fallen most heavily on communities of color. This is why USDA is investing in water infrastructure in rural and Tribal communities that need it most – to help them build back better, stronger and more equitably than ever before.”
USDA is financing the projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program. The investments will help eliminate outdated pipes and service lines to safeguard public health and safety in rural communities. They will improve rural infrastructure for 250,000 residents and businesses.
USDA is announcing investments today in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Puerto Rico.
For example, as part of today’s announcement:
- The Red Rock Rural Water System in southwestern Minnesota is receiving a $905,000 loan and a $445,000 grant to build a water treatment plant in Great Bend. It will also build an onsite ground storage reservoir and replace outdated control equipment. These improvements will help provide safe drinking water for nearly 16,000 residents.
- In New Mexico, the Ohkay Owingeh is receiving a $610,000 loan and a $1.6 million grant to build a wastewater treatment plant on Pueblo lands in Rio Arriba County. This project will help expand water treatment from 235,000 to 350,000 gallons per day and extend services to Pueblo residents who are not currently connected. These improvements will benefit 1,143 residents.
- Ohio’s Gallia County Board of Commissioners is receiving an $887,000 loan and a $1.5 million grant to provide additional financing for a wastewater collection system in portions of Green and Springfield townships. This project is expected to improve water quality and economic development opportunities for 1,154 residents in the rural Appalachian communities of Rodney and Quail Creek.
The Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program provides funding for clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage disposal, sanitary solid waste disposal, and storm water drainage. The program serves households and businesses in eligible rural areas with populations of 10,000 or less.
To learn more about these and other resources for rural areas, contact a USDA Rural Development state office.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.