|(APRIL 22, 2013) EARTH DAY TRIBUTE HIGHLIGHTS $1.85M USDA LOAN TO RURAL OHIO SEWER DISTRICT|
|CHILLICOTHE, Ohio, Apr 22, 2013
@@ The Pleasant Valley Regional Sewer District’s first customers in 1973 included a handful of turn-of-the-century farmhouses whose effluent still ran into nearby streams. “Getting on county sewer” back then vastly improved the quality and safety of the water in this rural Ross County hamlet.
Forty years later, the same basic wastewater treatment system serves nearly 2,000 customers. Engineers agree it’s outmoded, inefficient, and in need of major repairs. Enter USDA Rural Development:
“Clean water and sanitary sewer systems are the backbone of small communities,” said USDA Ohio Rural Development State Director Tony Logan. “A modern, state-of-the-art system like the one going in here in Pleasant Valley both enhances water quality in the region and increases real estate values for the system’s users. Equally important in USDA’s view, modern public infrastructure helps attract new businesses and local entrepreneurship. Infrastructure creates jobs and makes growth possible.”
Logan joined PVRSD Manager Jeff Raines and area stakeholders for an Earth Day commemoration at the plant site today. Raines said the low-interest direct loan not only will finance needed renovations, it also will reduce operating costs and have a further positive impact on the watershed and environment.
“We have to stop thinking that water is an endless resource,” said Raines. We need to take better care of Mother Earth or it’s not going to be here for our children and grandchildren. Basically, this loan is going to enable us to bring more people into the system and do our part.”
Loan funds also will be used to construct a new administration building, replacing an existing facility that fails to meet modern safety, accessibility and functionality requirements.
As part of the Agency’s Earth Day celebration, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced support for projects nationwide that will improve water and wastewater services for rural Americans and benefit the environment across the country. 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.
“At USDA, we believe it is critical that communities across the country have reliable, clean and safe water,” Vilsack said. “This Earth Day, I also encourage residents of communities affected by natural disasters, including those hit by Hurricane Sandy, to apply for funding through the USDA Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants 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, organized through the efforts of the late Wisconsin Senator and conservationist Gaylord Nelson, 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 $142.2 million to improve water quality and provide a safe and healthy environment for rural Americans.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs 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.