The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is making available a historic level of funding for water and waste disposal infrastructure in rural towns and communities. The announcement was made by Rural Development State Director Chris Beeker III. Nationally, USDA Rural Development has more than $4 billion in direct loans available to help rural communities build or upgrade water/wastewater infrastructure.
“This is great news for Alabama communities, but applicants need to act quickly to take advantage of this financing,” Beeker said. “It can be a struggle for any city or county to finance a large infrastructure project, but it is especially challenging for the smaller towns and communities. Our staff is completely dedicated to processing and underwriting applications for these funds. This is an ‘all-hands on deck’ initiative by Rural Development.”
The Water and Waste Disposal Program provides loans and grants to fund the construction, upgrade, or expansion of clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage systems, solid waste disposal infrastructure, and storm water drainage in rural areas.
Most state and local government entities, private nonprofits and federally-recognized tribes are eligible to apply. Projects must be within a rural area with a population of 10,000 or less. Applications are more likely to be processed in time to receive funding this year if they are for purchases of land or equipment, meters, the upgrade of wells, upsizing of pipes or similar activities. Applications not approved by Sept. 30 will be considered for funding in the next fiscal year.
USDA Rural Development staff are available to discuss project concepts and help rural communities navigate the application process. Those interested in applying are encouraged to contact their local Area Office Specialist to learn more about submitting a successful application. Municipalities and community water authorities can also apply electronically for USDA financing using the interactive RDApply tool on the USDA Rural Development website.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. Assistance supports infrastructure improvements, business development, housing, community services such as schools, public safety and healthcare plus high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit rd.usda.gov/al.