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USDA Rural Development celebrates Earth Day in Kentucky with a Tree Planting Ceremony and Funding Announcement for a Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade

By Katherine Belcher, USDA Rural Development Public Information Coordinator

Tom Fern, State Director for USDA Rural Development in Kentucky, was in Monticello, Ky., on Thursday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day by planting Dogwood trees and announcing with Mayor Kenneth Catron a $7.1 million loan and grant for an upgrade to the city’s wastewater treatment plant.  Funding is provided through USDA Rural Development’s water and environmental program.

The wastewater system improvement project will upgrade the plant to meet Kentucky requirements and also improve the water quality of nearby Elk Spring Creek.

“Earth Day calls on all of us to do our part to create a cleaner, safer environment, and today we celebrate a project that will produce a cleaner, safer wastewater collection system for the residents of Wayne County,” said Fern. “The many upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant will improve residents’ health and wellness and overall quality of life.”

There were many special guests in attendance, including Donna McClure from U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell’s office; Regina Crawford from U.S. Senator Jim Bunning’s office; Lanette Girdler from U.S. Representative Hal Rogers’ office and State Representative Ken Upchurch. Also joining in the festivities were local business and community leaders, bankers, engineers and emergency responders.

“We really appreciate the great working relationship we have with Rural Development and the people of Wayne County are grateful for the many wonderful projects they have made possible in this community,” said Mayor Catron.

Monticello’s wastewater treatment plant serves more than 2,500 customers in rural Wayne County, one of Kentucky’s persistent poverty counties and part of the Appalachian chain.

In Observance of Earth Day, USDA Rural Development staff participated in a tree planting in Monticello, Ky., on Thursday. Those pictured include, from left, Vernon Brown, RD Utilities program director; Robert Dunn, RD Community Programs Specialist; Mayor Kennth Catron; RD State Director Tom Fern; Lanette Girdler from U.S. Representative Hal Rogers’ office; and Barry Turner, RD Loan Specialist.

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