Bangor, ME, Jun 17, 2013 -- USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel has announced eight water and wastewater projects that will benefit multiple communities in rural Maine. 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.
USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel said, "I am pleased that USDA Rural Development can invest nearly $3 million through today's announcement to impact water and wastewater projects in rural communities throughout Maine. These projects ensure people living in Maine's rural areas have access to clean, safe, drinking water and reliable wastewater infrastructure while helping to preserve the environment and the integrity of Maine's pristine lakes and streams."
The following organizations will receive funding under this $2.97 million announcement:
Water and Waste Disposal Loans and Grants:
· Norridgewock Water District has been selected to receive $1,468,500 in the form of a loan of $1,118,000 and a grant of $350,500 to upgrade the Norridgewock Water District's distribution system by replacing aged water mains thus improving operating efficiencies, flow, and reliability of the system.
· Town of Wiscasset has been selected to receive $1,200,000 in the form of a loan of $974,000 and a grant of $226,000 to replace and reline 6,500 feet of sewer mains and to upgrade three pump stations, which will improve flow rates and efficiency.
Technical Assistance Training Grants:
· Passamaquoddy Tribal Council at Pleasant Point Reservation has been selected to receive a grant of $65,104 to be used to identify and evaluate solutions to water issues relating to source, storage, treatment, and the distribution of safe drinking water.
· Hancock County Planning Commission has been selected to receive a grant of $12,900 for workshops and training that will be used to help reduce threats to drinking water. It will also assist municipal officials in identifying failing waste disposal systems, ranking these systems for priority replacement, and directing those officials to appropriate funding for income-eligible households for new systems.
Solid Waste Management Grants:
· Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments has been selected to receive a grant of $100,000 to provide a wide range of technical assistance to towns/associations using existing staff. The assistance with the goal of reducing the amount of toxicity of waste being disposed and improving the sustainability of the local and regional solid waste systems.
· Hancock County Planning Commission has been selected to receive a grant of $29,500. Funds will be used to help Hancock County increase their recycling rates. It will also help towns find new methods of organic matter composting, facilitate the collection of household hazardous waste and universal waste, and improve construction and demolition debris. The Commission's goal is to produce strategies to divert solid waste from disposal through increased recycling, composting, and other solid waste management techniques.
· Kennebec Valley Council of Governments has been selected to receive a grant of $68,000 to help reduce solid waste sent to landfills and incinerators, increase municipal recycling, and improve water quality by the removal of toxic materials from the waste stream. This will be accomplished by providing municipal employee training, public education, and environmentally responsible disposal opportunities for small towns in Maine.
· Northern Maine Development Commission, Inc. has been selected to receive a grant of $29,500 to help reduce the influx of garbage and recyclables that will come from the 2014 World Acadian Congress convention (a major celebration of Acadian Culture, French language and history that spans three weeks) that will be held next summer. It will help reduce the amount of garbage that will be generated by this event by providing extensive outreach effort on part of the transfer station operators and event organizers to promote recycling during the festivities.
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 $828 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.
USDA Rural Development has Area Offices located in Presque Isle, Bangor, Lewiston, and Scarborough, as well as a State Office, located in Bangor. There are 63 employees working to deliver the agency's Housing, Business, and Community Programs, which are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, and farmers, and improve the quality of life in rural Maine. USDA Rural Development invested a total of $402.5 million in Maine communities last Fiscal Year. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development's web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/me.