USDA awards $303K to rural water projects in Puerto Rico
Two communities in the town of Aguas Buenas have been awarded a combined $303,000 to modernize their rural drinking water and wastewater infrastructure systems, the US Department of Agriculture announced.
The funds are part of a global $307 million allocation granted across the US mainland and Puerto Rico and are part of a bipartisan infrastructure framework announced last week, agency officials said.
The framework will replace lead pipes and outdated service lines, helping address barriers faced by communities of color, Tribal communities, and rural communities, President Joe Biden said.
Luis R. García, USDA Rural Development acting state director for Puerto Rico, said the USDA is financing the projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program.
The two local projects included in the funding round are:
- Acueducto Madriguera Inc., which is receiving a $203,000 grant to make improvements to its community aqueduct, damaged by Hurricane María. In addition, the community’s electrical infrastructure and road access were severely damaged, limiting access to maintenance crews. This left the community without electric power for eight months. This grant will be used to replace the power generator, repair the distribution lines, and replace the transfer switch, pump control panel, generator room door and window covering where the generator is housed to protect the system from the elements. These improvements will help provide safe drinking water for nearly 1,738 residents.
- Comunidad Coruja Inc., which is receiving a $100,000 grant to purchase a 60KV power generator for the primary pump station and a 40KV for the secondary station. Each generator will include the transfer switch, electrical installation, and the start-up. The doors will be replaced for security purposes and mesh panels will be installed over hole openings in masonry blocks to protect the systems. Once this project is complete, the aqueduct will be in a better position to provide its 783 clients with safe drinking water in the event of any disasters the future.