Improving Health and Water Quality in Rural America

Map of Recovery Act Commitments 
(Get more information in this spreadsheet from the USDA.)


In the Next 100 Days:  Start 200 New Waste and Water System Projects in Rural America

Why?  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Water and Waste Disposal (WWD) loan and grant program will use Recovery Act funds to build drinking water, sanitary sewer, solid waste and storm drainage facilities in rural communities of 10,000 or fewer people. The program provides financing for water and waste infrastructure when commercial credit is unavailable at reasonable rates, allowing rural communities to provide safe, reasonably priced services to their residents. The infrastruc¬ture enhancements will significantly improve the health and quality of life for millions of Americans who live outside of our major urban centers.

Here are a few examples of the types of problems these projects will help solve for people all over the country:

  • The city of Ironwood, Michigan produces and distributes water to city customers as well as two other nearby communities.  The condition of their outdated water distribution lines is very poor, wasting considerable amounts of water and causing low pressure problems throughout the system.  Ironwood will receive $4.8 million to replace an outdated water distribution system with water mains ranging from 70 to 100 years old.
  • At the present time, the Koontz Lake area in Starke County, Indiana relies on septic tanks for waste disposal.  Due to small lot sizes, soil types and high ground water, some of these systems are failing.  There have been high levels of E. coli in water samples in the ditches that drain the developed areas around the lake. The people of Koontz Lake will receive $14.3 million to construct a centralized sewage treatment and collection system for the 944 homes and 30 busi¬nesses served by the Koontz Lake Regional Sewer District network.
  • The Syracuse-Racine Regional Sewer District (SRRSD) services the villages of Syracuse and Racine, Ohio. Its current collection and treatment systems utilize the Ohio River and do not meet current environmental standards.  The people of Syracuse and Racine will receive $3.1 million in loans and grants to improve the Syracuse-Racine Regional Sewer District System. This project will upgrade the current wastewater treatment plant and collection systems to meet the current treatment requirements.


The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is a strategic and significant investment in our country’s future. The Act will save and create jobs immediately while also laying the foundation for a robust and sustainable 21st century economy by modernizing our health care, improving our schools, modernizing our infrastructure, and investing in the clean energy technologies of the future.

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