Biden-Harris Administration Invests $75 Million to Provide Clean Drinking Water and Safe Wastewater Infrastructure in Rural West Virginia
New Infrastructure Will Support a Growing Economy and Provide Clean Watersheds for Thousands of People in Greenbrier County
LEWISBURG (WVDN) – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack joined Sen. Joe Manchin today to announce a $75 million investment by USDA in critical infrastructure improvements that will ensure thousands of rural people in Greenbrier County have clean drinking water and sanitary wastewater systems for years to come.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to providing a healthy community and environment to make sure people, children and families have clean water and safe water systems that prevent pollution and runoff,” Vilsack said. “Thanks to President Biden, Vice President Harris and to the tireless efforts of leaders like Sen. Manchin, USDA is making investments in rural communities where they are needed most. With today’s announcement and historic investments like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, we will advance our work to ensure people in West Virginia and throughout the country can look forward to healthy, vibrant futures for their families and the communities they call home.”
Vilsack and Manchin were in Lewisburg to highlight two projects that will upgrade aging, failing water infrastructure. They attended a groundbreaking for an improved water treatment plant and announced new funding to update a wastewater system.
The city of Lewisburg has received $52.7 million in USDA loans and grants to upgrade its water treatment facility. The city will construct a new raw water intake structure and two new water storage tanks, as well as replace roughly six miles of water distribution lines. Maintenance on the city’s water system has become increasingly costly and difficult. Without these improvements, the 40-year-old system would continue to be compromised and customers would experience boil water notices and outages. The project is the largest utility investment USDA has made in West Virginia. It will benefit more than 13,000 people and businesses and allow the city to meet increased demand in an area that has been experiencing economic growth.
The Greenbrier County Public Service District No. 2 will use just over $22 million in USDA loans and grants to replace aging infrastructure and equipment for its wastewater collection and treatment system, which has not been significantly upgraded in more than 30 years. The district will construct various upgrades to its wastewater treatment plant, replace approximately nine miles of gravity sewer main, and rehab outdated lift stations with new pumps and valves. The project will benefit more than 2,000 residents and more than 100 businesses in western Greenbrier County, including the communities of Quinwood, Rupert and Rainelle.
USDA Rural Development’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program is providing the majority of funding for both projects. They also have received state and local funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.
Earlier this month, Secretary Vilsack announced a partnership between USDA and the Environmental Protection Agency to provide immediate assistance and sustainable solutions to historically underserved communities in critical need of wastewater infrastructure. The Closing America’s Wastewater Access Gap Community Initiative is being piloted in 11 communities, including McDowell and Raleigh counties in West Virginia.
The USDA-led Rural Partners Network (RPN) also will be expanded to include communities in West Virginia in the coming months. RPN is an all-of-government collaboration that helps rural communities access resources and funding to create jobs, build infrastructure and support long-term economic stability through place-based strategies.
USDA Rural Development’s Water and Environmental Programs help rural communities obtain the technical assistance and financing necessary to develop drinking water and waste disposal systems. Sanitary waste disposal systems and clean drinking water are vital not only to public health, but also to the economic vitality of rural America. Rural Development is a leader in helping rural America improve the quality of life and increase the economic opportunities for rural people.
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