Water infrastructure projects to overcome barriers communities of color face in accessing public health in rural America
Columbia, South Carolina, July 7, 2021 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $ 307 million to upgrade rural drinking water infrastructure and sanitation in 34 states and Puerto Rico. The investment includes more than $ 9.5 million for water and wastewater infrastructure in South Carolina.
The investments announced today follow President Biden’s announcement last week of a bipartisan infrastructure framework that will make the largest investment in drinking water in U.S. history. The framework will replace all lead pipes and service lines across the country, helping to overcome barriers faced by communities of color, tribal communities and rural America.
“Every community needs safe, reliable and modern water and sanitation systems,” Secretary Vilsack said. “The consequences of decades of disinvestment in physical infrastructure have been especially felt on communities of color. That’s why USDA is investing in water infrastructure in rural and tribal communities that need it most to help them rebuild better, stronger and more equitably than ever.
“We are delighted to help McCormick and Marion counties improve their water infrastructure. Projects like these are critical and will have a significant impact on rural communities for years to come, ”said Marty Bright-Rivera, USDA’s Acting State Director for Rural Development in South Carolina.
USDA funds projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loans and Grants program to help dispose of obsolete pipes and service lines to protect public health and safety in rural communities. They will help improve rural infrastructure for 250,000 inhabitants and businesses.
USDA today announces investments in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington Wisconsin, West Virginia and Puerto Rico.
For example, as part of today’s announcement:
• The Town of Calhoun Falls is receiving over $ 4.6 million in loans and grants to modernize the water system with new meters, pipes, standpipes and connect existing residential service lines to installed pipes. Calhoun Falls has an aging infrastructure resulting in a significant loss of water revenue in the system and excessive maintenance load due to leaks and breaks in the water distribution system. The installation includes a main meter to receive water from the town of Abbeville and a main meter to distribute water to McCormick County. Additionally, there are over 45 miles of water distribution lines and two elevated water tanks for storage. This project will improve water service, reduce repairs, improve water pressure and modernize its fire protection system for city customers. In addition, the investment will be used to modernize the sewage system by replacing the floating aerators with a diffuse aeration system with blowers, installing a solar energy production system and cleaning the existing sludge retention pond. The City of Calhoun Falls Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) system includes sewer collection lines, pressure lines, several sewer pumping stations, a lagoon system and a polishing with aerators. The wastewater treatment plant is in fair condition and was upgraded 19 years ago.
• In Marion County, MARCO Rural Water Company Inc. will receive a $ 4.9 million investment that will be used to construct an emergency elevated water storage tank, an emergency water supply well and a emergency water treatment facility in Marco’s water system. New water lines will also be installed as part of the project and will improve system flow rates around Marion County. MarCo’s water system was installed in the 1970s. Its water source is from ten groundwater wells that are pumped daily to supply water to the system. The system has six elevated storage tanks. Wells experience significant reductions in pumping capacity. As a result of the proposed upgrades, the water supply system will have a new back-up tank for the aging tank, a new back-up water supply well, and a water treatment facility. water. This will greatly improve the system flow rates in the southern part of the system.
The Water and Waste Disposal Loans and Grants program provides funds for clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary wastewater disposal, sanitary solid waste disposal and drainage. storm water. The program serves households and businesses in eligible rural areas of 10,000 inhabitants or less.
To learn more about these and other resources for rural areas, contact a USDA state rural development office.
Under the Biden-Harris administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs, and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This aid supports the improvement of infrastructure; Business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed Internet access in rural, tribal and very poor areas. For more information visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you would like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.
The USDA touches the lives of all Americans every day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris administration, the USDA is transforming the American food system with a greater emphasis on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe food, healthy and nutritious in all communities, creating new markets and income streams for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capacity in communities. rural America, and a commitment to equity throughout the department by removing systemic barriers and creating a workforce that is more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov/sc.
If you would like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.