The Department of Agriculture has announced $268 million in rural drinking water and wastewater infrastructure grants and loans that are expected to impact about 267,000 residents.   

The announcement — made available through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program — will fund 76 projects in 28 states. Bette Brand, USDA’s deputy secretary for rural development, said the infrastructure upgrades “will improve public health and drive economic development in our small towns and cities.”

According to USDA, the program offers long-term, low-interest loans; if funds are available, grants are offered and may be “combined with a loan if necessary to keep user costs reasonable.” Funds can be used for the acquisition, construction, or improvement of drinking water, sewer collection, solid waste collection, or storm water systems in rural areas.

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In a release, USDA specifically mentioned a $14 million loan to replace a water treatment plant in Greenville Ill., a $10.6 million loan and $4.6 million grant to build a regional water treatment plant in Hulbert, Okla., and a $5 million loan to build an elevated water treatment facility, among other things, in Seaside Park, N.J.

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