In celebration of Earth Day on April 22, 2013, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it will fund 43 projects to improve water quality and help strengthen the rural economy in 32 states across America. USDA Rural Development will provide $145.2 million in funding for these initiatives.
The Rural Development sector of the USDA consists of programs created to support economic stability and improve the quality of life in rural areas. "At USDA, we believe it is critical that communities across the country have reliable, clean and safe water," explained Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The new projects will help make the environment safer and healthier for rural citizens.
Some of the planned projects include: construction of a new facility to replace a corroding wastewater treatment plant in Grand Rivers, Kentucky that is unable to meet regulations; upgrades to a treatment facility in the town of Betterton, Maryland that is currently functioning at 10 percent of its original capacity; and improvements to Richland Center, Wisconsin’s 75-year-old wastewater treatment system and the construction of a new plant. These projects will be funded by a combination of loans and grants. Funding is determined by the recipient’s ability to comply with the terms of each funding agreement.
Help protect workers involved in wastewater treatment by providing safety supplies like goggles, gloves, protective clothing, boots, and respiratory protection to help prevent contact with contaminated water and reduce illness.