Historic funding for President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law will help address the lack of basic wastewater infrastructure in rural America WASHINGTON, August 2, 2022 – Today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Alaba At an event in Lowndes County, MA, large numbers of residents lose access to wastewater infrastructure The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the Community Initiative to Close America’s Wastewater Access Gap . The new initiative will be piloted in 11 communities across the country whose residents lack basic wastewater management that is critical to protecting their health and the environment. EPA and USDA will combine technical assistance resources to help historically underserved communities identify and pursue federal funding opportunities—including from President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure lawto meet their wastewater needs and eliminate backyard concerns. Harmful exposure to sewage. “Under the Biden-Harris administration, the USDA believes that hardworking people in America’s small towns and rural communities should have the infrastructure they need to stay healthy and support their families. … we recognise that there are still people out there who don’t have the basics,” Agriculture Minister Tom Vilsack said. “Access to modern, reliable wastewater infrastructure is necessary, and the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to doing everything we can to ensure that every family and every child in America has access to these vital services. By combining the resources of the USDA and EPA And using time-honored bipartisan infrastructure laws, we can restore the economic vitality and social dignity these communities deserve to those who live there.” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan added “The America we all believe is a land of opportunity. But for historically marginalized communities from Alabama to Alaska, that opportunity is lost when basic sanitation doesn’t work. Stolen – Exposing adults and children to backyard sewage and disease. By partnering with the USDA and leveraging funding through bipartisan infrastructure laws, EPA is working to restore dignity to rural communities in Alabama and across the country and opportunity.” White House infrastructure coordinator Mitch Landrieu said: “President Biden has made it clear that as we pass a bipartisan infrastructure law We can’t leave any community behind when rebuilding America’s infrastructure. This includes long-forgotten rural and tribal communities. Bipartisan infrastructure law has provided communities with $11.7 billion in loans and grants for a variety of water quality infrastructure projects, including wastewater solutions for these communities.” An estimated 2.2 million people in the United States lack basic running water and indoor plumbing. Many people live in ineffective wastewater infrastructure, putting people’s health at risk. Closing America’s Wastewater Access Gap Community Initiative will help communities access financing and technical assistance to improve wastewater infrastructure to “close the gap with wealthy communities.” EPA and USDA – in collaboration with state, tribal and local partners – are launching initiatives in the following areas:
- Mississippi Bolivar County, State;
- Duplin County, NC;
- Allah Greene County, Bama;
- Halifax County, North Carolina;
- Harlan County, Kentucky;
- McDowell County, West Virginia;
- Raleigh County, West Virginia; and,
Dona Ana County, New Mexico and Santo Domingo Pueblo;
Lowndes County, Alabama ;
San Carlos Apache Tribe, Arizona State.
The Community Initiative to Close America’s Wastewater Access Gaps will allow EPA and USDA— — Working closely with these communities, our state and tribal partners, and technical assistance providers on the ground — leveraging technical and financial expertise to make progress in addressing the wastewater infrastructure needs of some of America’s most underserved communities. Each community or tribe will receive direct support to address generational wastewater infrastructure deficiencies, including technical engineering support to conduct wastewater assessments, develop wastewater community solutions plans, identify and pursue financing opportunities, and build long-term capacity. State governments and water agencies have committed to working with EPA and USDA to support these communities. Communities across the country have wastewater infrastructure challenges. The Community Initiative to Close Wastewater Access Gaps in the U.S. will serve as a roadmap for expanding efforts in the rest of the country. EPA and USDA each provide technical assistance to help communities access funding through bipartisan infrastructure laws and other government programs. Several communities selected for the initiative also participate in the Biden-Harris administration’s recently announced Rural Partnership Network. The USDA-led network brings together 20 federal agencies and regional commissions to help rural communities create economic opportunity by accessing resources and funding that match their unique needs and priorities. If you are a community interested in learning more about technical assistance opportunities, please visit www.epa.gov/water-infrastructure/water-technical-assistance Under the Den-Harris administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunity, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety, and health care; and high-speed Internet access in rural, tribal, and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you would like to subscribe to USDA rural development updates, please visit our GovDelivery subscribers page. USDA impacts the lives of all Americans every day in many positive ways. During the Biden-Harris administration, the USDA is transforming America’s food system, focusing more on more resilient local and regional food production, providing a fairer market for all producers, and ensuring safe, healthy access to all communities and nutrient-dense foods, building new markets and channels using climate-smart food and forestry practices to increase incomes for farmers and producers, making historic investments in rural America’s infrastructure and clean energy capabilities, and addressing systemic barriers and Build a more representative American workforce to commit to equity across the sector. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.# USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.