COLUMBUS — Ohio Rural Development State Director David L. Hall confirmed last week Ohio is among 42 states set to benefit from $392 million in newly announced rural water and wastewater treatment infrastructure improvements.
“Access to safe drinking water and reliable wastewater treatment is crucial to the health and well-being of rural Ohioans, and it’s also a predictor of successful economic development,” said Hall. “In this fiscal year alone, Ohio Rural Development has obligated a historic amount of water and wastewater infrastructure loan and grant funding — more than $107 million — including today’s obligations in Pickaway and Preble counties.”
USDA is supporting investments in 120 infrastructure projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. It can be used to finance drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents. In many cases, states, other federal partners and nonprofits are working with USDA to also provide funding for these projects.
In West Alexandria, a $1.713 million loan and grant combination will help offset costs associated with the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant that will replace a half-century old facility. The new plant will provide modern service to about 1,350 rural residents. The village also received a $3.87 million Water and Waste Disposal loan in March.
In Pickaway County, a $3 million loan will help finance construction of a new water transmission line serving about 3,900 Earnhart Hill Regional Water & Sewer District customers. This funding is in addition to a July 2018 loan and grant combination totaling $1.675 million, which is being used to finance the purchase of sludge handling equipment at Earnhart Hill’s wastewater treatment plant.
In FY 2018, Congress provided a historic level of funding for water and wastewater infrastructure. The 2018 Omnibus spending bill includes $5.2 billion for USDA loans and grants, up from $1.8 billion in FY 2017. The bill also directs Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to make investments in rural communities with the greatest infrastructure needs.