Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett recently announced that USDA is investing $392 million to help rebuild and improve rural water and wastewater infrastructure in 42 states. Five of the projects, receiving a total of $18.9 million, are improving water and wastewater access to more than 22,000 rural Iowans.

These five projects bring USDA Rural Development’s 2018 investment in water and waste water programs in Iowa to more than $100 million. This is nearly two times the investment in 2016 and 2017.

“Put simply, modern and reliable water infrastructure is foundational to quality of life and economic development,” Hazlett said. “USDA’s partnerships with rural communities underscore Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s commitment to rural people and the places they call home.”

USDA Rural Development’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program can be used to finance drinking water, storm water drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents. States, other federal partners and nonprofits work with USDA to provide funding for these projects.

“Robust, state-of-the-art water infrastructure provides a firm foundation for economic development and prosperity in rural communities,” said 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.”

Infrastructure projects in Iowa include:

The city of Blairsburg in Hamilton County will be using a $990,000 Rural Development loan and $560,000 Rural Development grant to dig a well, construct a treatment plant, install water meters, and provide a standby power system. A 90-year-old treatment plant that will be replaced, improving service to the community of 215.

The city of Fairfield in Jefferson County will be using a $11,124,000 Rural Development loan to replace part of the wastewater collection system. This project is step two of a multi-phase project which will correct sewer overflow issues in the city due to conveyance bottlenecks and inflow and infiltration issues in the current system. Approximately 9,500 residents and businesses will benefit from these improvements.

Eastern Iowa Regional Utility Service System will be using a $435,000 Rural Development loan and a $100,000 Rural Development grant to provide wastewater collection and treatment using a grinder pump system for 25 additional users in the unincorporated area of Leisure Lake located in Jackson County.

Southwest Regional Water District will be using a $2,048,000 Rural Development loan and a $500,000 Rural Development grant to dig two water wells, provide treatment and a transmission line improving water access in southwest Iowa.

Wapello Rural Water Association, Inc. will be using a $3,150,000 Rural Development loan to lay 14 miles of water main and construct a pump station to serve almost 6,000 rural residents in the Wapello Rural Water Association service area in Wapello and Davis Counties.

In FY 2018, Congress provided a historic level of funding for water and wastewater infrastructure. The 2018 Omnibus spending bill includes $5.2 billion for USDA loans and grants, up from $1.8 billion in FY 2017. The bill also directs Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to make investments in rural communities with the greatest infrastructure needs.

Eligible rural communities and water districts can apply online for funding to maintain, modernize or build water and wastewater systems. They can visit the interactive RD Apply tool, or they can apply through one of USDA Rural Development’s state or field offices.

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