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$27.4 Million to Improve Rural Michigan Water Infrastructure
Michigan Ag Connection - 10/15/2021

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Thursday announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $27.4 million to modernize rural drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in seven rural Michigan communities.

"As people in many parts of the nation battle drought and fires brought on by climate change, there has never been a more urgent need for this assistance," Vilsack said. "When we invest in rural infrastructure, we build opportunity and prosperity for people in rural communities. These investments support the local economy by making rural communities attractive, economically viable and safe places to live and work, therefore helping to create and save jobs by attracting and retaining employers and workers. Investing in rural water infrastructure is one of the many things the Biden-Harris Administration is doing to help the nation build back better during the ongoing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic."

USDA is financing 114 projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program. These investments will help improve rural infrastructure for 270,000 people and businesses.

The Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program provides funding for clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage disposal, sanitary solid waste disposal, and storm water drainage. The program serves people and businesses in eligible rural areas with populations of 10,000 or less.

- Otsego Township, in Allegan County, is receiving a $2,594,000 loan to extend its water system into five areas of the township, approximately 120 homes. PFAS chemicals have been detected in private wells in the area of the project scope, which has become an area of interest for Michigan PFAS Action Response Team. The work will be done in conjunction with the sewer extension project and will construct 11,000 feet of water main with hydrants, valves, service laterals and restoration. An additional $3,838,000 loan will be used to construct 1.7 miles of gravity sewer with manholes, service laterals and restoration.

- The Village of Berrien Springs, in Berrien County, will use a $1,362,000 loan to replace more than a mile of watermain along with the associated hydrants, valves, water services and appurtenances. This is essential to maintaining the integrity of the water distribution system. The village will use a second $1,753,000 loan replace manholes and 7,000 feet of sewer main. These improvements will protect local ground water.

- The Village of Vermontville, in Eaton County, will use a $277,000 loan to replace and upgrade nearly two miles of old cast iron water main and construct a 150,000-gallon water tower.

- The City of Ironwood, in Gogebic County, will use a $5,439,000 loan and $3,192,000 grant to make improvements to their water system. The project includes the construction of a water treatment plant with dual-media filters, chemical feed rooms, a 500,000-gallon concrete clear well, backwash water infiltration basin, and the conversion of the pump station to cold storage.

- The Torch Lake Area Sewage Authority, in Houghton County, will use a $6,023,000 loan and $6,477,000 grant to install additional lined lagoons, liners in the seepage lagoons at each site, lagoon treatment piping and structures, and lagoon discharge piping and outfall for seasonal discharge to local rivers.

- The Lakewood Wastewater Authority, in Ionia County, will use a $1,275,000 loan to complete the installation of a sewer force main from Pump Station 16 to the wastewater treatment plant. An additional $4,708,000 loan will be used to for sewer system improvements. The project will replace Pump Station 11, replace undersized pumps at Pump Station 16, and install 6,550 feet of gravity sewer.

- The Charter Township of Au Sable, in Iosco County, will use a $211,000 loan to extend its sewer collection system approximately three miles along the Lake Huron coastline. Private septic systems in this area are failing or have failed to the point of pump and haul due to high lake levels. The project will allow 185 private septic systems to connect to the township sewer system.

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