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High Tourism Area in Pennsylvania to Benefit from New USDA-Funded Wastewater System

A herd of elk, part of the largest wild elk herd in the Northeastern United States, can continue to graze in their natural habitat due in part to to a new Rural Development funded wastewater treatment system that will clean up two watersheds.

A herd of elk, part of the largest wild elk herd in the Northeastern United States, can continue to graze in their natural habitat due in part to to a new Rural Development funded wastewater treatment system that will clean up two watersheds.

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.

Township Supervisor James McCluskey with Rural Development Loan Specialist Maribeth Giannone overlooking the rolling hillsides, part of the many picturesque views in Benezette Township that will be protected by the new wastewater treatment system.

Township Supervisor James McCluskey with Rural Development Loan Specialist Maribeth Giannone overlooking the rolling hillsides, part of the many picturesque views in Benezette Township that will be protected by the new wastewater treatment system.

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.

To find out more about how USDA Rural Development can assist you and your community, click here.

Congressman Glenn Thompson center, with Benezette Township Supervisors and Rural Development Area Director Bob Schoenfeldt on right marked Earth Day 2011  with a celebration of Rural Development funding for a new sewage treatment plant.

Congressman Glenn Thompson center, with Benezette Township Supervisors and Rural Development Area Director Bob Schoenfeldt on right marked Earth Day 2011 with a celebration of Rural Development funding for a new sewage treatment plant.

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