USDA Rural Utilities Service Administrator John Padalino recently visited the 500th water and wastewater project completed under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. “The Recovery Act has brought improved water and wastewater services to nearly 1.7 million rural residents,” said the Administrator.
Administrator Padalino made his remarks at the Ozark Mountain Regional Public Water Authority Treatment Plant in Arkansas.
Most people in the U.S. take for granted the fact that safe drinking water is readily available for use by simply turning on a tap, or pushing a button on a fountain. However, many rural communities within the U.S. must deal with negative impacts associated with contaminated water sources at their homes and schools.
In fact, since the 1980’s there have been efforts to bring safe drinking water to Boone, Newton, and Searcy counties in Arkansas. Groundwater in this region is often contaminated with naturally occurring random, radium, and fluoride, which water systems must address. Contaminated ground water is unsafe and unfit for humans to use. USDA funding for the Ozark Mountain Regional Public Water Authority system is used to provide clean, safe water for over 20,000 residents and businesses.
In addition to the USDA funding, the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission provided nearly $10 million for the project. Programs like the one which funded the Treatment Plant would not be available without a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill.
Rural areas need safe and reliable water for the health of their communities and sustainable economic growth. Since the start of the Obama Administration, USDA has invested more than $218 million, in over 100 water and wastewater programs in rural Arkansas alone.
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