Image: Storm drain

(Source: WNEM)

The United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced an investment in rural water and wastewater infrastructure in four Michigan communities. This investment will benefit 7,300 rural residents.

Joel Baxley, the acting assistant to the secretary for Rural Development, announced that USDA is investing in 40 projects in 20 states to improve rural water infrastructure.

“These investments will have a far-reaching, positive impact on rural residents, businesses, and communities,” Baxley said. “Improving water and wastewater infrastructure enhances quality of life, helps support economic development and ensures that rural areas have safe and abundant water supplies.”

USDA is investing $82 million through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. Rural communities, water districts, and other eligible entities can use the funds for drinking water, stormwater drainage, and waste disposal systems. The projects must be in rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.

“These additional investments in clean water infrastructure will continue to enhance public health and generate economic opportunity in rural Michigan,” USDA Rural Development State Director for Michigan Jason Allen said. “I urge rural communities concerned about water quality to contact USDA and see what we can do to help.”

Michigan has four projects:

  • The Village of Akron, in Tuscola County, is receiving a $667,000 loan to improve its sewer collection system. There have been no major improvements to the collection system since its construction in the 1970s. The pump station must also be replaced as it has reached the end of its useful life. In addition, 10 relief valves which have not been functional for more than 30 years will be replaced. The sewer system serves 165 residential and 16 commercial customers.
  • The City of Croswell, in Sanilac County, is receiving a $3.25 million loan and $6.75 million grant to make additional improvements to its sewer system. The city will install slip lining, replace pipes, and make improvements to the wastewater treatment plant. This is Phase 2 for the sewer improvement project. Phase 1 was obligated in 2018 and was comprised mainly of improvements to the collection system that showed more severe inflow/infiltration problems. The sewer system serves 962 residential and 28 commercial customers. 
  • The Village of Vicksburg, in Kalamazoo County, is receiving a $8,412,000 loan to construct and replace interceptor pipes, replace and repair pump and lift stations, and upsize the force main. This project will significantly improve the capacity, reliability, and performance of the Village of Vicksburg's wastewater collection and treatment system.
  • The City of Ludington, in Mason County, is receiving a $6,014,000 loan to provide additional financing for wastewater treatment plant improvements. The collection system treats sewage from Ludington, the City of Scottville, portions of Pere Marquette Township, Hamlin Township, and Amber Township.  The city will revise the aerated lagoon, reconfigure another lagoon, and make plant improvements. The sewer system serves 5,087 residential and 1,051 commercial users.

In April 2017, President 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 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President 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.

Copyright 2019 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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