STILLWATER – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today 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 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, according to a media release.

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 people who live in rural America.

“Every community needs safe, reliable and modern water and wastewater systems,” Secretary Vilsack said. “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.”

USDA is financing the projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program. The investments will help eliminate outdated pipes and service lines to safeguard public health and safety in rural communities.

They will 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.

In Oklahoma, two projects are part of today’s announcement:

• The Haileyville Public Works Authority is receiving a $1,104,000 loan and $3,182,000 grant to make water system improvements. Most of the water line is cast iron and in poor condition which results in leaks and broken pipes. After the proposed project is completed, water losses will be reduced, low pressure areas will improve, fire flow requirements will be improved, and operation and maintenance costs will be reduced. These improvements will benefit 813 residents.

• The Hartshorne Public Works Authority water system is receiving a $7,048,000 loan and $2,750,000 grant to make improvements to their water distribution system. This improvement project includes replacing 42 miles of water distribution lines to alleviate low pressure areas, satisfy fire flow requirements, decrease water losses, and decrease operation and management costs. These improvements will benefit 2,125 residents.

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.

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