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Time to Apply: USDA Announces $5 Billion in Funding for Rural Water/Wastewater Improvements

  • 8 August 2018
  • ckearns

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Utilities Service has announced that more than $4 billion in Direct Loan funds and $1 billion in grant funding is available for rural water and wastewater system improvements — marking a nearly threefold increase in the normal annual obligation.

The funding is available for small municipalities (population of 10,000 or fewer) to construct a water tank, install new water or sewer lines or build a wastewater treatment plant along with a myriad of other projects.

Funding is provided through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program.

USDA Rural Development State Director Phil Cowee calls the funding a tremendous opportunity to replace old lines or outdated, inefficient systems. “New systems enhance efficiency and conserve water, and water is essential for communities to thrive,” Cowee says. “Our funds work together with state partners’ programs that provide drinking water or wastewater treatment funding, and that makes infrastructure systems more affordable.”

Anne Hazlett, the assistant to the secretary for USDA Rural Development, says the department is committed to partnering with rural communities to build their futures. “All people — regardless of their zip code — need modern, reliable infrastructure to thrive, and we have found that when we address this need, many other challenges in rural places become much more manageable,” she says.

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 apply through one of USDA Rural Development’s state or field offices.

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