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Northwest Alabama receives $1.8M USDA rural water infrastructure investment

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday announced the department’s investment of $1.8 million in two rural northwest Alabama communities for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure improvement.

Administered through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program, the investment will serve to modernize water infrastructure serving over 14,000 citizens residing in the Shoals area.

Vilsack said the loan and grant program serves to benefit rural America as a means to combat adverse effects resulting from what he believes to be challenging climate conditions.

“As people in many parts of the nation battle drought and fires brought on by climate change, there has never been a more urgent need for this assistance,” stated Vilsack. “When we invest in rural infrastructure, we build opportunity and prosperity for people in rural communities.”

He added, “These investments support the local economy by making rural communities attractive, economically viable and safe places to live and work, therefore helping to create and save jobs by attracting and retaining employers and workers. Investing in rural water infrastructure is one of the many things the Biden-Harris Administration is doing to help the nation build back better during the ongoing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Under the program, USDA provides funding for clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage disposal, sanitary solid waste disposal, and storm water drainage. Areas with populations of 10,000 or less are eligible to receive funding through the program.

The city of Tuscumbia in Colbert County is set to receive a $217,000 loan for the acquisition of a sewer line from an adjacent wastewater system. The line will pave the way for the city to bore additional lines under a major route so as to provide for the system’s future expansion.

Lauderdale County’s Chisholm Heights Water and Fire Protection Authority will receive a loan totaling slightly over $1 million as well as a grant in the amount of $584,000 for upgrades to the authority’s water system.

The additions to the system will include a water pumping booster station, supply line, master water meter and an additional water connection. The purchases are a preventative measure in the event of a main line failure.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL