WASHINGTON, July 15, 2009 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Wednesday the selection of $250 million in water and environmental projects that are being funded immediately through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The 32 projects will help provide safe drinking water and improved wastewater treatment systems for rural towns and communities in 17 states, Guam, and Puerto Rico. This is the fifth wave of water and environmental projects that USDA has announced, with total funding of $1.134 billion.
In Hoquiam, Wash., the city has made its lagoon modernization project a high-capital improvement priority. The lagoon, as it is now, has a significant potential of leaching pollutants into the local water system, risking public health and jeopardizing area industry. The city will receive a $9.47 million loan to modify its 48-acre lagoon that stabilizes and stores waste and sludge, and serves as an emergency holding area for excess flow to the treatment plant. Funds also will help to remove waste that has built up for 30 years and poses a significant environmental risk.