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USDA Grants Help with Rural Indiana's Water, Waste Woes

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USDA financing can help small Indiana cities and towns refurbish their current water infrastructure systems or build new facilities. (Pixabay)
USDA financing can help small Indiana cities and towns refurbish their current water infrastructure systems or build new facilities. (Pixabay)
August 8, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS – August is Water Quality Month, and cities and towns throughout Indiana with water or waste problems to tackle have an opportunity to get some financial help.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program is offering funding for rural communities to help them pay for drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste-disposal systems.

Rochelle Owen, director of community programs for the USDA Rural Development Office in Indiana, said the money can be used to rehabilitate current infrastructure or build new facilities.

"Communities that don't have infrastructure currently in their towns or districts, they're receiving funds to overcome in many cases failing septics [systems] in their areas and also, drinking-water needs," she said.

The USDA recently announced an investment of $164 million for dozens of projects across the country. In Indiana, Owen said they've secured funding for 19 projects.

To be eligible for financing, towns must be rural, with 10,000 or fewer residents. Communities can apply for funding online or through one of the state's seven USDA Rural Development offices. Owen said field staff will work with applicants through the process, from start to finish.

"A community is never left alone to be able to put together their applications, with their professional services and our agency," she said. "There is a community specialist in their area who will assist them along the way through their planning and construction process."

In recent USDA funding, Akron got a loan to separate its combined sanitary and sewer-collection system, and Union City received funding to upgrade a wastewater-treatment plant and collection system.

Application information is online at rd.usda.gov.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IN