DC, September 15, 2004 (ENS): U.S. Agriculture
Secretary Ann Veneman announced Tuesday the approval
of nearly $80 million in loans and grants to assist
38 rural communities in 25 states improve their water/wastewater
The funds will be used by rural communities to provide
clean, safe drinking water and sanitary wastewater disposal.
"The Bush administration understands that for
a community to improve its economic opportunity and
quality of life, basic community infrastructure is essential,"
said Veneman. "These funds will help improve the
health and safety of America's rural communities."
Veneman cited Polk County in rural Tennessee as an
example of how the funds will play a role in improving
the quality of life for area residents.
County officials requested funds to construct six miles
of water lines in the Isabella area of eastern Polk
County and in the City of Ducktown where 81 residential
users have struggled with contaminated water wells.
The funds will allow those residents to connect to
a safer and more reliable source of water.
Funding for the 38 projects is made up of $60.5 million
in loans and $19.3 million in grants and will be contingent
upon meeting the conditions of the loan and grant agreements.
Veneman said that since the beginning of the Bush administration,
the Rural Development section of her department has
funded $6.3 billion in loans and grants. Communities
have used the funds in the construction or improvement
of more than 4,000 water or wastewater systems, benefiting
more than 2.7 million rural area residents.