West Virginia receives $75 million grant to improve drinking water, wastewater systems

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a $75 million award for critical infrastructure improvements in West Virginia’s Greenbrier County to support clean drinking water and sanitary wastewater systems.

Vilsack and Sen. Joe Manchin were in Lewisburg to highlight two projects that will upgrade aging, failing water infrastructure. They attended a groundbreaking for an improved water treatment plant and announced new funding to update a wastewater system.

The city of Lewisburg has received $52.7 million in USDA loans and grants to upgrade its water treatment facility. The city will construct a new raw water intake structure and two new water storage tanks, as well as replace roughly six miles of water distribution lines. Maintenance on the city’s water system has become increasingly costly and difficult. Without these improvements, the 40-year-old system would continue to be compromised and customers would experience boil water notices and outages. The project is the largest utility investment USDA has made in West Virginia. It will benefit more than 13,000 people and businesses and allow the city to meet increased demand in an area that has been experiencing economic growth.

The Greenbrier County Public Service District No. 2 will use just over $22 million in USDA loans and grants to replace aging infrastructure and equipment for its wastewater collection and treatment system, which has not been significantly upgraded in more than 30 years. The district will construct various upgrades to its wastewater treatment plant, replace approximately nine miles of gravity sewer main, and rehab outdated lift stations with new pumps and valves. The project will benefit more than 2,000 residents and more than 100 businesses in western Greenbrier County, including the communities of Quinwood, Rupert and Rainelle.

USDA Rural Development’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program is providing the majority of funding for both projects. They also have received state and local funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.

The investments in Greenbrier County continue the Biden-Harris Administration’s actions to ensure rural people have access to clean water and safe wastewater systems. The projects reflect the Administration’s renewed commitment to historically underserved communities, including those in West Virginia and Appalachia that are vital to the country’s energy production.

Earlier this month, Secretary Vilsack announced a partnership between USDA and the Environmental Protection Agency to provide immediate assistance and sustainable solutions to historically underserved communities in critical need of wastewater infrastructure. The Closing America’s Wastewater Access Gap Community Initiative is being piloted in 11 communities, including McDowell and Raleigh counties in West Virginia.

The USDA-led Rural Partners Network (RPN) also will be expanded to include communities in West Virginia in the coming months. RPN is an all-of-government collaboration that helps rural communities access resources and funding to create jobs, build infrastructure and support long-term economic stability through place-based strategies.


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