News Release
Release No.STELPRD4009597
ContactJay Fletcher202-690-0498
Washington, DC, Apr 18, 2011 --

@@In observation of Earth Day, Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager has announced support for projects that will improve water and wastewater service and benefit the environment across the country.

“USDA invests in rural water and community facility projects that not only protect America’s natural resources but also provide a clean environment and economic opportunities for current and future generations,” Tonsager said. “USDA is especially proud of its role in helping rural communities and citizens gain access to safe and reliable drinking water, and in helping to improve environmental quality in rural areas.”

In all, 53 projects across the Nation will be highlighted. Earth Day is observed annually on April 22 to raise awareness about the role each person can play to protect vital natural resources and safeguard the environment. Since the first Earth Day celebration in 1970, the event has expanded to include participation by citizens and governments in more than 195 countries.

As part of today’s announcement, USDA Rural Development is providing more than $105 million to fund water and wastewater and community facilities projects.

In Nebraska, the City of Bayard has been selected to receive a $3 million Rural Development loan and a $1.6 million grant to bring the water system back into compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act. An Administrative Order was issued by the Nebraska Health and Human Service Department of Regulation and Licensure. Two of the three wells in Bayard contain water with nitrates levels which exceed the regulatory requirements under the Act. The two wells are the only source of water for the City. The third well is not used due to high pressures created in the low zone. The water project consists of the construction of a treatment plant, rehabilitation of the existing wells, development of one new well, and the replacement of distribution lines and existing water meters.

USDA Rural Development will host events across the country to highlight newly funded projects as well as past Earth Day projects. Previously funded Earth Day projects that are completed or near completion demonstrate how USDA is helping improve the environment in rural communities.

Funding for each project is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan, grant, or loan/grant agreement.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a network of national state and local offices. Agency programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $149 billion in loans and loan guarantees.