U.S. Department of Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack today announced $144.3 million in loans and grants for infrastructure improvements in 34 states to improve water availability and quality.
The USDA said the federally funded projects will protect the environment and improve the health of rural families through its rural development programs.
"Earth Day is the perfect time to highlight President Obama's efforts to reinvest in and rebuild America's rural communities," Vilsack said. "Strategic investments such as the ones announced today will help improve the economy and the quality life for rural residents."
One such project will help the German Township Sewer Authority in McClellandtown, Pennsylvania, construct a wastewater collection system along with pumping and treatment facilities to replace malfunctioning and deteriorating systems, USDA said.
The $5.5 million in improvements to the German Township wastewater system will benefit an estimated 1,465 residents in surrounding townships by eliminating the discharge of sewage into area waterways.
USDA said rural development's mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents by fostering growth in homeownership, financing business development and supporting critical community and technology infrastructure.