USDA invests $800 million to improve rural water infrastructure, rehabilitate lead pipes

(UI) — The Biden-Harris Administration has unveiled a substantial investment of $808 million, led by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, aimed at fortifying rural cooperatives and utilities.

The initiative focuses on enhancing electric infrastructure, reinforcing electric grid reliability and security, and extending access to clean drinking water and sanitary wastewater systems across rural regions.

This strategic funding is anticipated to benefit approximately 480,000 individuals residing in 36 states and two U.S. territories, generating economic growth and creating employment opportunities.

The announcement is a significant stride towards realizing President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, a cornerstone of Bidenomics. This comprehensive approach prioritizes the revitalization of the nation's infrastructure, driving substantial private sector investments in manufacturing and clean energy, fostering job creation, and promoting a resilient clean-energy economy to combat climate change.

The comprehensive funding package will impact numerous states, including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, and many others. Notable projects include:

  • Providing secure and reliable drinking water access to 10,000 individuals in Safford, Arizona.
  • Enhancing water infrastructure in Star, North Carolina to eliminate lead-based paint from an elevated storage tank, benefiting over 800 residents.
  • Offering safe and dependable drinking water access to more than 300 people in Irwin, Iowa, coupled with replacing steel, cast iron, and lead service lines with copper lines.
  • Facilitating reliable electric connectivity for households and businesses across northern Indiana through the installation of 132 miles of electric infrastructure.
  • Ensuring access to safe and reliable drinking water for residents of Waterloo, New York.
  • Upgrading the sewer televising system in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania to provide improved service to the community.

USDA's involvement spans various programs including the Electric Loan Program, Water and Waste Disposal Direct Loan and Grant Program, Water and Waste Disposal Loan Guarantees Program, Water and Waste Facility Loans and Grants to Alleviate Health Risks for Colonias Program, Solid Waste Management Grants Program, Community Facilities Program, Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program, and Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program.

Furthermore, this announcement aligns with the Biden-Harris Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan, earmarking $78 million for lead pipe remediation. As part of an ambitious endeavor, the Administration aims to replace all lead service lines in the United States over the next decade.

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