News Release
Release No.STELPRD4011098
ContactSarah Pursley530-792-5801
(APRIL 22, 2011) USDA RURAL DEVELOPMENT CELEBRATES EARTH DAY IN RURAL KERN COUNTY
Davis, CA, Apr 22, 2011 --

@@In celebration of Earth Day, USDA Rural Development State Director Glenda Humiston announced today a $298,000 grant to Lamont Public Utility District to connect the small community of Weedpatch to the District's existing sewer system.

"Projects like this not only help protect our natural resources, but also improve basic health conditions that are crucial components to any healthy rural community," said Humiston. "USDA Rural Development is proud to be a partner in addressing these challenges that many of our rural communities deal with."

Weedpatch residents currently use private septic systems, but many are outdated and frequently experience failures that have resulted in sewage and greywater surfacing in yards. In order to comply with health standards and improve the environmental impacts associated with these problems, the septic tanks will all be decommissioned. Funds will be used to connect the 33 homes in the community to the sewer system in Lamont. These improvements will help ensure Weedpatch residents have effective waste removal as well as protecting the local water supply from potential pollution.

Lamont Public Utility District is leveraging USDA Rural Development funds with a $100,000 Community Development Block Grant from Kern County. Self-Help Enterprises provided additional assistance to the District in the application process.

"This project will go a long way to help improve the public health concerns associated with Weedpatch's failing septic systems," said Mario Cervantes, General Manager for Lamont Public Utility District. "But we would not be celebrating the funds from USDA and the County today if it wasn't for all the help and guidance we received from Jessi Snyder at Self-Help Enterprises."

Across the country this Earth Day, USDA Rural Development is providing more than $105 million in loans and grants to fund 53 projects that will improve water and wastewater service and benefit the environment. Earth Day is a historical holiday in which countless Americans devote time to making a positive impact on the environment and local communities. USDA Rural Development is dedicated to implementing positive environmental change and helping provide our nation with a clean and abundant water supply.

USDA Rural Development administers and manages more than 40 housing, business, and community infrastructure and facility programs as laid out by Congress through a network of 6,100 employees located in 500 national, state and local offices. These 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 $125 billion in loans and loan guarantees.

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