USDA sets aside nearly $25 million to improve water quality in southeast Iowa

Funding through USDA's Water and Environmental programs will help the city of Fairfield, Iowa make enhancements to its wastewater facility to ultimately improve water quality in southeast Iowa.

"The recent flooding in Iowa and other parts of the country has demonstrated just how important high-functioning wastewater systems are to our communities," said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. "Sanitary waste disposal systems and safe drinking water are vital not only to public health, but also to the economic vitality of rural America‚...This particular investment will help to minimize the impact of future flooding on homes and businesses in southeast Iowa."

USDA Rural Development is awarding a $24,995,000 direct loan to the City of Fairfield that will help rehabilitate the city's existing wastewater facility and bring it into compliance with Iowa Department of Natural Resources requirements. The existing plant was originally constructed in 1966, with updates and improvements added in 1984 and 2013. Still, the plant is not able to meet discharge limits and overflows to a local stream during heavy rain events.

This loan, the largest USDA Water and Environmental Programs loan ever issued in Iowa, will allow city leaders to implement a master plan over the next 10 years to make improvements to the treatment plant, repair much of the collection system and address high flows during rains. Treatment plant upgrades will include new trash screens, new grit removal systems and pumps, as well as an enlarged flow equalization basin.

For more information on how USDA's investments have served to protect and sustain America's water supply, please visit the Impact of USDA Investments to Protect and Sustain America's Water Supply Fact Sheet.