USDA Rural Development announced on Friday that $20.6 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding will be provided to the Town of Berlin and to the Worcester County Commissioners on Maryland’s Eastern Shore to help upgrade two wastewater treatment systems.
“The Recovery Act is putting people back to work like Mike Dale, helping them to provide for their children’s education and a home for their family,” said Jacqueline Ponti-Lazaruk Assistant Administrator, Water and Environmental Programs for USDA Rural Development during a ceremonial groundbreaking. “This wastewater treatment project in Berlin is an example of how the Recovery Act is not only creating jobs, but is also protecting the environment and providing much-needed infrastructure improvements for the residents for years to come.”
The Assistant Administrator spoke on behalf of Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager. Dale operated heavy equipment for nearly 10 years before he was laid off in the summer of 2008 due to the downturn in the economy. He’s now back to work full-time as a construction worker with Bearing Construction at Bottle Branch Road in Berlin. Bearing started working on the upgrade and expansion of the wastewater treatment project on June 17, 2009. The upgrades and expansion to the Berlin wastewater treatment system are necessary to comply with more stringent environmental regulations and to prepare the Town for expected growth and development.
The project is expected to cost $16 million and is being funded in partnership with state and federal funding; a USDA Rural Development low-interest loan in the amount of $5,988,000 and USDA grant $5,828,217. The Maryland Department of the Environment is providing a $1.5 million grant, and the Department of Housing and Community Development is providing $700,000 through the Community Development Block Grant program. $2 million towards the project is provided by the Town. Jack Tarburton, USDA Rural Development State Director also highlighted $8.8 million in funding provided to Worcester County Commissioners for improvements to the Mystic Harbour wastewater treatment plant.
“Rural Development understands the unique challenges that municipalities and county governments face to maintain and operate wastewater treatment systems,” said Tarburton. “USDA’s water and environmental programs are designed to help make the process easy to deal with and affordable for the entire community.”