Columbia, S.C., July 7, 2021 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $307 million to modernize rural drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in 34 states and Puerto Rico. The investment includes over $9.5 million for water and wastewater infrastructure in South Carolina.
The investments being announced today follow President Biden’s announcement last week of a Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework that will make the largest investment in clean drinking water in American history. The Framework will replace all of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines, helping address barriers faced by communities of color, Tribal communities, and rural America.
“Every community needs safe, reliable and modern water and wastewater systems,” said Secretary Vilsack. “The consequences of decades of disinvestment in physical infrastructure have fallen most heavily on communities of color. This is why USDA is investing in water infrastructure in rural and Tribal communities that need it most to help them build back better, stronger and more equitably than ever before.”
“We are excited to assist both McCormick and Marion counties improve their water infrastructure. Projects like these are essential and will have a significant impact to rural communities for years to come”, said Marty Bright-Rivera, acting state director for South Carolina USDA Rural Development.
USDA is financing the projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program to help eliminate outdated pipes and service lines to safeguard public health and safety in rural communities. They will help improve rural infrastructure for 250,000 residents and businesses.
USDA is announcing investments today 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 upgrade the water system with new meters, pipes, hydrants and connect the existing residential service lines to the installed pipes. Calhoun Falls has an aging infrastructure resulting in extensive water revenue loss in the system and excessive maintenance burden due to water distribution system leaks and breaks. The facility includes a master meter to receive water from the City of Abbeville and a master 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 upgrade its fire protection system for the town's customers. In addition, the investment will be used to upgrade the sewer system by replacing floating aerators with a diffused aeration system with blowers, installing a solar power generation system and cleaning out the existing sludge holding basin. Town of Calhoun Falls Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) system consists of sewer collection lines, force mains, several sewer pump stations, a lagoon system, and a polishing pond with aerators. The WWTP is in fair condition and was last upgrade 19 years ago.
• In Marion County, MARCO Rural Water Company Inc. will receive a $4.9 Million investment which will be used to construct a backup elevated water storage tank, backup water supply well and a backup water treatment facility in Marco's water system. New water lines will also be installed as part of the project and will enhance the systems flows around Marion county. MarCo's water system was installed in the 1970s. Its water source comes from ten groundwater wells which are pumped daily to provide water for the system. The system has six elevated storage tanks. The wells are experiencing significant reductions in pumping capacity. Following the proposed improvements, the water system will have a new backup to the aging tank, a new backup water supply well and water treatment facility. This will greatly improve system flows in the southern portion of the system.
The Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program provides funding for clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage disposal, sanitary solid waste disposal, and storm water drainage. The program serves households and businesses in eligible rural areas with populations of 10,000 or less.
To learn more about these and other resources for rural areas, contact a USDA Rural Development state 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 assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov/sc.
If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.
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