U.S. Dept. of Agriculture: Invests $2M in rural water and wastewater infrastructure improvements in Wisconsin

STEVENS POINT, Wis., May 27, 2020 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) State Director Frank Frassetto announced that the department is investing $281 million in 106 projects to improve water and wastewater infrastructure in rural communities in 36 states and Puerto Rico. USDA is funding the projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program.

“These investments will help improve water quality and safety for many rural Wisconsin residents. They will replace deteriorating, leaking water pipes with new ones and upgrade wastewater handling systems that are decades old,” Frassetto said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to partnering with rural communities to help them improve their infrastructure, because when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”

USDA is funding projects in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Eligible applicants include rural cities, towns and water districts. The funds can be used for drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems in rural communities that meet population limits.

In Wisconsin, there are two rural communities that will receive funding:

  • The Village of Pepin will use a $1,481,000 million loan and a $118,000 grant to upgrade their water distribution system. The project will provide 6″ water mains to replace the undersized mains and loops to address deficiencies at dead end pipes. The improvements will provide better water flow and improve fire safety in the village. These upgrades will serve 837 users.
  • The Village of Tennyson will use a $191,000 loan and $304,000 grant will provide additional financing for the water and sewer project funded in 2018 for $4.2 million and will serve 355 users. Sewer was constructed over 50 years ago, has had failures that were fixed as they occur but there has been no widespread pipe replacement since original installation. The system has experienced at least two backups since 2014 and an additional lift station overflow in July of 2018 caused by inadequate controls and notification through the alarm dialer system. This project will include improvements to lift stations and replacement of deteriorating electrical equipment and controls, addition of a portable generator and will connect the Village of Tennyson lift stations, well and tower to the existing SCADA system for future monitoring. 

The water system consists of one well and one storage tank. In the summer, they must flush the water mains every month to reduce black water and odor issues. The water supply system is not providing adequate storage, flow or pressure. Water distribution on some streets consists of cast iron water mains and have averaged two to three breaks per year recently. They will update the well house to allow for separation of chemical room and electrical equipment, provide proper spacing for the flow meter, provide space for a well header recycle line to prevent stagnation above the well pump, replace the current discharge pump that is severely corroded and replace outdated control panel that contains mercury switches removing a contaminant and health threat for the Village and its staff.

For application or eligibility information, view the interactive RD Apply tool or contact one of USDA Rural Development’s state or field offices.

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.

To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity. In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/wi.