Rooted just below the surface in communities nationwide, decaying water and wastewater infrastructure is threatening the resiliency and reliability of the country’s water supply. In an effort to combat this issue, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a $314 million plan to create loans and grants for 141 projects in rural areas across the country to build and repair water and wastewater infrastructure. 
The USDA’s grant and loan project will help improve the nation’s infrastructure in regions that lack the resources to do so. Through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program, $299 million will be used for 88 projects in rural communities to construct water and waste facilities. An additional $15 million will be used through the Emergency Community Water Assistance Grant (ECWAG) for 53 projects to improve water systems to help mitigate future emergencies that threaten the water supply. 
Communities nationwide have faced environmental, social, and economic plights due to water and wastewater infrastructure disruptions. In Hendersonville, North Carolina, 12,000 gallons of raw sewage discharged into the Mud Creek of Basin due to a damaged manhole and excessive rainfall. A break in the 80 year old infrastructure in Chicago, Illinois sent massive amounts of water flowing through the city streets of the metropolitan area, causing numerous street closures and transportation delays. And In Massachusetts, The Boston Globe reported a water main break leaving 75,000 people with limited water – businesses, hospitals, and schools were forced to close. This is just a glimpse at the numerous infrastructure related disasters that have been reported.
Along with this $314 million grant program, the USDA has been actively involved in efforts to eliminate future infrastructure related issues. Since 2009, the USDA has invested $12.3 billion in 5,174 water and wastewater infrastructure projects. Although significant updates have been made, the number of projects will continue to rise as the water and wastewater infrastructure deteriorates over time.
To learn more about the specific projects through the $314 million grant program, please visit: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2015/11/0304.xml&contentidonly=true
 United States Department of Agriculture. USDA Provides $314 Million in Water and Waste Infrastructure Improvements in Rural Communities Nationwide. United States Department of Agriculture. http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2015/11/0304.xml&contentidonly=true
 Blue Ridge Now Times-News Online. Heavy rainfall means more untreated waste in Mud Creek. Blue Ridge Now Times-News Online. http://www.blueridgenow.com/article/20151103/NEWS/151109952?tc=ar
 This Chicago Tribune. 80-year-old main shut down as water gushes into street in Fulton River District. The Chicago Tribune. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-water-main-breaks-in-fulton-river-district-20150828-story.html
 Ransom, Jan & Anderson, Travis. Water service restored across Brockton. Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC. https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/05/27/water-service-disrupted-brockton-and-towns-after-water-main-break/Q9uEuQYp0EYqGSei6DOmkK/story.html