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Vilsack announces $116 million for rural water projects

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack Dec. 29 announced the selection of $116.9 million in water and environmental project loans and grants that are being funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Altogether, USDA has announced $ 2.08 billion for Recovery Act water and environmental project loans and grants, benefiting people throughout the country.

"Recovery Act projects are helping rural communities of all sizes build a foundation for economic strength, future prosperity, and a healthy environment," said Vilsack. "The projects we're announcing today will help create jobs while rebuilding America's infrastructure."

For example, the West Dallas Water Authority in Selma, Ala., was selected to receive a $1.2 million loan and $1.8 million grant to expand the water system in Dallas County--a persistent poverty county. The expansion will include construction of new water distribution lines which will provide potable drinking water to approximately 100 new residential customers in an unserved area of Dallas County. Additionally, new generators will be purchased to serve as backup power supply to provide more reliable water service during natural disasters and power outages.

Meanwhile, the Wysox Municipal Authority in Towanda, Pa., has been selected to receive a $1.9 million loan to provide safe public drinking water to a community of more than 480 residents. Currently, the community has no public water system and the residents are faced with using water that contains bacteria, volatile organic and inorganic chemicals. Funding will be used to install 60,000 linear feet of water lines through the Township, construct a 220,000 gallon water storage tank and pump station.

The ARRA funding announced today is being administered by USDA Rural Development's Water and Environmental Program which provides loans and grants to ensure that the necessary investments are made in water and wastewater infrastructure to deliver safe drinking water and protect the environment in rural areas.

Funding of individual recipients is contingent upon their meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreement.

President Obama signed The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law on Feb. 17, 2009. It is designed to jumpstart the nation's economy, create or save millions of jobs and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so our country can thrive in the 21st century. The Act includes measures to modernize our nation's infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, provide tax relief, and protect those in greatest need.

More information about USDA's Recovery Act efforts is available at www.usda.gov/recovery. More information about the Federal government's efforts on the Recovery Act is available at www.recovery.gov.



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