USDA puts $19M into clean water, internet access in rural Arizona

The United States Department of Agriculture is sending more than $19 million to rural communities in Arizona.

The grants and loans will help expand access to clean water and high-speed internet. Eleven projects across Arizona will split the money.

Nearly $7 million will go to the town of Quartzite in La Paz County to expand the wastewater system. In Apache County, the Navajo Tribal Authority will use more than $3 million to improve a wastewater treatment plant. Another project involves a 30-mile telecommunications system based on fiber-optic cables in Apache County, Arizona and San Juan County, New Mexico. ASU will get a $160,000 grant to design programs for ten rural communities so they can offer recycling services.

In a press release, USDA Rural Development Arizona State Director Charlene Fernandez said, “Rural infrastructure is so much more than constructing water treatment facilities, laying pipes, or building power lines. Infrastructure includes the essential parts and pieces of a community that make daily life possible.”

Here’s the full list of projects announced in December 2021:

  • NTUA Wireless, LLC will use a $1.8 million Community Connect grant to build a 30-mile Fiber-to-the-Premises system. This system will expand access to economic, educational, health care, and public safety opportunities for 913 people and 12 essential community facilities sites in the Teec Nos Pos and surrounding area of the Navajo Reservation in Apache County, Arizona, and San Juan County, New Mexico.
  • Yuma County Improvement District will use a $317,929 grant to make phase two water improvements in Tacna, Arizona and serve 672 residents. The improvement district will develop and construct a new water treatment and distribution system, replacing more than 1,000 linear feet of pipe, and construct a new water storage tank and groundwater well.
  • The Town of Quartzsite in La Paz County will use a $1.3 million loan and $6.9 million grant to make significant upgrades to expand their wastewater system. This project will help improve the health, welfare, and safety of the 462 local residents.
  • Valley Pioneers Water Company Inc. is receiving a $4 million loan guarantee to make water system improvements. The water company serves a portion of Golden Valley, Arizona, and is aging. Improvements including upsizing and replacing the booster station, replacing water mains, and adding a storage tank for increased longevity. 
  • Navajo Tribal Utility Authority will use a $3.3 million grant to improve a wastewater treatment plant. Upgraded equipment and technology will provide significant support to its users in Apache County. 
  • Painted Desert Demonstration Projects Inc. will use a $153,000 grant to support the STAR School Water Technical Assistance and Training Program for the Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe. The STAR School will host community workshops to assist participants with water and wastewater loan and grant applications, and to provide training for improved management, operation, and maintenance of facilities. 
  • Yarnell Water Improvement Association will use a $30,000 grant to prepare a Preliminary Engineering Report and Environmental Report. Both are essential to determining appropriate repairs and improvements of existing water systems.
  • Graham County Utilities, Inc. will use a $30,000 grant to prepare a Preliminary Engineering Report and Environmental Report for its service area in Fort Thomas, Arizona.
  • Inter Tribal Council of Arizona Inc. will use a $1 million grant to provide technical assistance, training, and Tribal operator certification services to small, rural Tribal communities in Arizona. This training will emphasize water utility resilience, strong managerial and financial capacity, asset management, and water loss control. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona will also use an additional $82,200 grant to assist member Tribes in effectively managing and mitigating solid waste in the interest of protecting the environment on Tribal lands and the health of Tribal residents.
  • Arizona State University is receiving a $160,559 grant to design recycling programs which allow rural regions to offer recycling services with effective outreach programs. The Arizona communities to be engaged include Bisbee, Tombstone, Pirtleville, Huachuca City, St. David, Pinetop-Lakeside, Heber-Overgaard, White Mountain Lake, Springerville, and Whiteriver. 

 

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