AmericanFarm.com

Md., Va. rural government get share of $112 million in grants

By JONATHAN CRIBBS
Staff Writer

WASHINGTON (May 5, 2015) — Several rural governments in Maryland and Virginia received funding from the USDA last week for projects that improve wastewater services.
The regional projects were part of $112 million given to rural municipalities across the country. The regional projects include:
• The town of Henderson, Md., in Caroline County received a $175,000 grant for emergency improvements to its water system.
• The town of St. Paul, Va., in Russell and Wise counties received a $275,000 loan to finish a new multi-million dollar wastewater treatment plant.
• The Wise County Public Service Authority in Virginia received a loan of $49,000 and a grant of $992,000 for sewer improvements.
In St. Paul, the treatment plant, a $7.9 million regional facility, will ignite investment and growth in a nearby business corridor, town treasurer Debora Baca said. The town, which is splitting the facility’s cost with other nearby jurisdictions, needed the loan to make up for foundation issues during construction that consumed the budget’s contingency over the last year, she said. The plant is expected to open at the end of August.
“If you want any kind of growth, you have to be able to offer sewer, and that has been something that has been very limited,” Baca said. “Businesses don’t come without proper infrastructure.”
USDA Under Secretary Lisa Mensah recently visited Henderson to see the fruits of her department’s grant, the department said. Extremely cold temperatures in February and high demand caused the town’s old water system to break down, shutting off water for the town’s 146 residents. The town has been relying on a temporary solution to keep its wells running since.
Another $2 million went to institutions and organizations across the country to help agricultural producers perform energy audits.
“Not only do projects such as these help ensure communities have access to clean water and affordable energy, they also create jobs and boost the economy,” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.