U.S. Department of Agriculture invests in 5 rural U.P. county infrastructures

Published: Dec. 16, 2021 at 11:41 AM EST
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UPPER MICHIGAN, Mich. (WLUC) - U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is investing $5.2 billion to build and improve critical rural infrastructure in 46 states and Puerto Rico including five U.P. counties.

The investments reflect the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to “Building a Better America” by investing in rural communities and will help expand access to high-speed internet, clean water and reliable electricity in people’s homes and businesses across rural America.

“The investments we are announcing today will drive the creation of good-paying union jobs and grow the economy sustainably and equitably so that everyone gets ahead for decades to come,” Vilsack said.

This announcement follows the recent passage of President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and reflects the many ways USDA Rural Development’s programs are planning to help people, businesses and communities address critical infrastructure needs to help rural America build back better.

“This is a historic opportunity for rural Michigan communities to receive critical infrastructure upgrades,” said USDA Rural Development State Director for Michigan Brandon Fewins.  “From the Keweenaw Peninsula to the Indiana border and over to the Thumb we are working hard to provide safe drinking water, protect the environment and improve internet connectivity.”

The Torch Lake Area Sewage Authority, in Houghton County, will use a $3 million grant to install additional lined lagoons, install a liner in the existing seepage lagoons at each site, add lagoon treatment piping and structures, and install lagoon discharge piping and outfall for seasonal discharge to local rivers. This investment is in addition to other Rural Development funding that supports the same project.

Carp Lake Township, in Ontonagon County, will use a $713,000 loan and $1,202,000 grant to replace more than two miles of sewer collection main.  Lift Station #5 will be replaced completely due to the age of its mechanical and electrical equipment.

Sagola Township, in Dickinson County, will use a $529,000 loan and $732,000 grant to replace and upgrade the Sagola and Channing lift stations, replace 600 linear feet of sanitary sewer main and associated manholes, install security fencing and access gates, replace influent structure and valves as well as the Sagola septic tank and dosing chamber.

The City of Negaunee, in Marquette County, will use a $5.5 million loan for water system improvements. The project includes replacement of 15,000 feet of water main, with hydrants, valves, service leads and restoration.

The Ontonagon County R.E.A will use an $8,285,000 loan to connect 162 consumers, and build and improve 92 miles of line. This loan includes $2,091,503 in smart grid technologies. Ontonagon County REA is headquartered in Ontonagon, and has 4,886 members over 970 miles in Baraga, Gogebic, Houghton, Keweenaw and Ontonagon counties in the western portion of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

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