Planada, CA, Apr 22, 2013 -- In celebration of Earth Day, USDA Rural Development State Director Glenda Humiston announced a commitment of $4.8 million to help improve the wastewater system for the rural unincorporated community of Planada in Merced County. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today's announcement is one part of the Department's efforts to strengthen the rural economy.
"Earth Day is the perfect time to highlight USDA's efforts to reinvest in and rebuild California's rural communities," said Humiston. "We are proud to partner in projects such as todays where we can address challenges of effective waste removal and disposal that many of our rural communities deal with."
Planada Community Services District is in violation from the California Regional Water Quality Control Board because their treated effluent being discharged into Miles Creek does not meet current surface water standards. Funds will help the district make necessary upgrades to their wastewater treatment facility as well as change the disposal of the treated effluent to include irrigation of crops not consumed by humans such as alfalfa. Once completed, the project will help remedy potential health and safety issues, as well as accommodate anticipated future growth of the community.
USDA Rural Development awarded the district a $2.2 million low-interest loan and a nearly $2.6 million grant through their Water and Waste Disposal program. The district plans to leverage the funds with approximately $6 million in additional funding from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program.
In all, 43 water and wastewater projects in 32 states will be funded. 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 $145.2 million to improve water quality and provide a safe and healthy environment for rural Americans.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $176 billion in loans and loan guarantees. 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.
USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration - the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $700 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.