The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a $7.7 million investment for several Michigan communities, including three in west Michigan, to help rebuild and improve rural water infrastructure.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development State Director for Michigan Jason Allen made the announcement Monday, April 1, 2019.

“These infrastructure improvements will impact more than just the 10,000 residents in the respective service areas,” Allen said.

Michigan’s four projects include:

  • The city of Fennville, in Allegan County, is receiving a $1.1 million loan to make water system improvements that will increase capacity, reliability and performance. Service leads and the water main will be replaced. New radio frequency technology will be adopted, and valves, hydrants and pavement will be restored. The water system serves 507 residential and 119 commercial customers.
  • The village of Homer, in Calhoun County, is receiving an $826,000 loan to provide additional financing for wastewater system improvements. The project includes reconstruction of lift stations, replacement of the aeration system, repair of the lagoon liners, as well as the replacement of the level control system and plant instrumentation. In addition, it might be necessary to replace sections of plant piping and valves that are currently inoperable. The sewer system serves 1,668 residents.
  • The village of Vicksburg, in Kalamazoo County, is receiving a total of $2.79 million in loans to improve both water and storm sewer systems. The project will replace about 1,300 linear feet of water main, reconnect an abandoned section of main, and replace lead and galvanized private service lines. The project also will improve the capacity, reliability and performance of the water distribution system. The water system serves 6,498 residents. The storm sewer project will replace approximately one-half mile of storm sewer and install a hydrodynamic separator to treat the storm water from the new trunk line. That project will serve 2,906 residents.
  • Portage Charter Township, in Houghton County, is receiving a $960,000 loan and $2 million grant to build a sewer collection system in the Greens Acre Road/M-26 corridor. Up to 75 percent of homes in the corridor might have failing drain field systems. The project will include a collection system for 53 new residents and nine commercial businesses, replace the failing collection pipe, and repair manhole covers. The sewer collection system will serve 1,002 residents.

The funding is being provided through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. It can be used for drinking water, storm-water drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.

Eligible communities and water districts can apply online on the interactive RD Apply tool or through one of USDA Rural Development’s state or field offices.

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. The findings were presented to the president in January 2018. The findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.