USDA Rural Development officials and Congressman Glenn Thompson celebrated Earth Day this week in Benezette Township, Elk County, Pennsylvania. Benezette Township, home of the largest wild elk herd in the Northeastern United States, lacks public sewer, preventing economic growth and damaging two watersheds with run-off from malfunctioning on-lot septic systems.
Despite the overwhelming thought that building a $2.5 million wastewater treatment facility would be an impossible task in a small, rural community like Benezette, Pennsylvania Rural Development was able to make it possible through a USDA Water and Waste Disposal loan and grant. The new sewage system will serve the year-round residents and the 50,000 tourists who visit this area each year to hunt, fish, camp and view the elk.
Following remarks from the Congressman and Rural Development staff, Earth Day attendees toured the newly constructed Elk Country Visitors Center that will connect to the system. Attendance at the visitor center is estimated to reach 160,000 annually by 2016.
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