Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing $1.2 billion to help rebuild and improve rural water infrastructure for 936,000 rural Americans living in 46 states.

“Access to water is a key driver for economic opportunity and quality of life in rural communities,” said Hazlett. “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.”

“Investing in infrastructure benefits the rural economy and the well-being of our environment for future generations to enjoy,” said USDA Rural Development State Director for Delaware and Maryland Denise Lovelady. “Rural Development’s programs are designed to help rural communities address their infrastructure needs and forge a path towards greater prosperity.”

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.

Eligible communities and water districts can apply online on the interactive RD Apply tool, or they can apply through one of USDA Rural Development’s state or field offices.

In Kent County, the Kent County Levy Court will use a $3,582,000 loan to repair a portion of the sewer main along U.S. Route 13. Because of deterioration, sewage is leaking from the main into the surrounding environment, creating a health and sanitary issue. Two significant line breaks have occurred within the past three years. Additional funding for this project includes a $2,423,100 loan from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources.

In Sussex County, the Sussex County Council will use an $8,808,000 loan to purchase two parcels — 338 acres — of land equipped with center pivot irrigation systems. The acquisition of this on-demand spray system will help provide the operational flexibility to maintain continued permit compliance of the county’s nearby wastewater treatment facilities, even under challenging weather conditions. It will also help reduce environmental impacts to the Inland Bays watersheds and improve water quality.

USDA is making investments in rural communities in Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January, 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.

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