Skip to main content

wastewater treatment

What I Would Have Said Today to Vice President Biden about the Recovery Act

This blog is cross posted from Secretary Vilsack's Medium page:

Somedays being a Cabinet member, you have to be flexible. Today is one of those days. While in New Orleans to speak to the Renewable Fuel Association and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, I traveled to the Port of New Orleans to attend an event with Vice President Biden. The Vice President scheduled an event at the port to highlight the 7th anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The Vice President is the most logical person to celebrate the anniversary of ARRA achievements since he led the historic effort on behalf of the Administration. I was to be one of the warm-up acts for Vice President Biden, but due to a scheduling conflict, I had to leave before the program started. Out of respect for the Vice President's effort to lead the Administration's implementation of ARRA, I had planned to highlight for him the enormous investment made in rural America as a result of ARRA. If I had been able to stay, I would have pointed to these 6 big investments by USDA:

Get Ready for Earth Day 2014: Small Communities Doing Big Projects to Protect Water and the Environment

With Earth Day on the horizon for tomorrow, we at USDA Rural Development are looking forward to sharing some very big news about efforts kicking off across the nation to ensure clean drinking water and healthy watersheds in small, rural communities that face increasing challenges with aging infrastructure, drought and climate change.

As you probably know, Rural Development works hard to help rural communities plan and build the critical infrastructure they need to grow and prosper sustainably.

Water Quality Trading in the Chesapeake Bay: Partnerships for Success

The Chesapeake Bay Watershed, the largest estuary in North America, covers 64,000 square miles and includes more than 150 rivers and streams that drain into the bay. Roughly one quarter of the land in the watershed is used for agricultural production, and agricultural practices can affect the health of those rivers and streams, and ultimately the bay itself.

While the health of the Chesapeake Bay has improved since the 1970s, excess nutrients and sediment continue to adversely affect water quality in local rivers and streams, which contributes to impaired water quality in the bay.

USDA and EPA Highlight Unique Wastewater Treatment Facility

On August 30, 2011 USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel joined Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Curt Spalding and Maine DEP Acting Commissioner Pattie Aho in highlighting one of the most affordable and advanced wastewater facilities in the country. This was an excellent opportunity to highlight the unique project as well as the important partnership between USDA Rural Development and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Greater Limestone Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility is impressive for many reasons. The $21 million total project brought together federal, state and local partners to regionalize two aging rural wastewater treatment facilities in northern Maine (Loring and Limestone) into one state-of-the-art facility.

USDA Administrator Visits the “Show Me State” to Review Business, Telecom and Broadband Investments

A three day visit to Missouri, the “Show Me State” allowed me to join Janie Dunning, Rural Development State Director, to see how rural areas benefiting from infrastructure investments made possible through USDA Rural Development programs and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) financing.

Missouri USDA Rural Development Partners with Schools and Communities For Earth Day Activities

What better way to celebrate Earth Day last month  than to recognize projects that are environmentally friendly and to educate our elementary school youths.  That's exactly what we did in northwest Missouri. The Missouri Rural Development (RD) staff partnered with the Senior Citizens Nursing Home District of Ray County and the Richmond Sunrise Elementary School for one celebration and with the City of Carrollton and Carrollton Elementary School for the second celebration.

In Richmond, Debra Berry, USDA Rural Development Area Specialist, talked with second graders in the Sunrise Elementary School about energy conservation and recycling and a poster contest was held for the students to demonstrate their creativity about the environment.  The gym full of students, teachers and the principal, showed great knowledge and excitement about caring for the environment.  When the top three poster winners were announced smiles lit up all the faces.  One of the student winners whose father was present to see the award had to call her mother at work - what excitement!

Tin Town Arizona Residents Celebrate Earth Day by Trading Cesspools for a Safe Water System

The Bisbee, Arizona Fire Station #81 was brimming with “officials”—the mayor, city council members, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ staff representative, and the acting state director for USDA Rural Development---but the attention was all on the rest of the crowd. Most of the residents of Tin Town, a small Colonia within Bisbee, Arizona, were sitting in the audience among the officials and they rocked!

Tin Town residents had been waiting a long time for this day. USDA Rural Development (RD) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are jointly funding a $1.4 million wastewater collection system to connect the people of Tin Town to the Bisbee wastewater facility. Currently, the residents rely on failing septic systems and cesspools, a health risk for the residents and the environment they share with the rest of the area.

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Views Recovery Act Project that Improves the Environment and Creates Jobs in Maryland

The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack visited the town of Berlin, Maryland, Monday to check up on the upgrades that are taking place to improve the Berlin Wastewater Treatment Plant. Secretary Vilsack is the highest-ranking federal official to visit the town since Franklin D. Roosevelt was there in the 1930s.  The Secretary spoke to the people of Berlin in front of the Atlantic Hotel about the status of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The technology that the Town of Berlin is installing as a part of that act was made possible thanks to a grant and some low interest Water and Environmental Program loans from the USDA. These upgrades will help to remove the pathogens, nutrients and other pollutants from the influent.  The renovation and expansion that the USDA is funding will increase the capacity at the plant to 750,000 gallons each day and make the facility compliant with current Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) Standards.  The Secretary said that these upgrades will save or create over 65 jobs in our area.