The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it has approved a $2.2 million loan to the municipality of Cabo Rojo, to improve the town’s landfill operations.
The assignment is part of a global $281 million that the federal agency is investing in 106 rural water and wastewater infrastructure improvement projects in 36 states and Puerto Rico, through its Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program.
“The goal of our loan assistance is to provide the necessary resources to the municipality of Cabo Rojo to improve the landfill’s operation,” said Josué E. Rivera, Puerto Rico State Director of USDA Rural Development.
“The proposed landfill, new Cell 2-B, which is to be developed when the footprint of the current landfill property is approved, will be engineered in compliance with current state and federal regulations,” he said.
The project will also extend the existing facility’s useful life for eight to 10 years to benefit the residents and nearby rural communities in critical need of long-term landfill services, Rivera said, adding the loan carries a 2.75% interest rate.
Eligible grant recipients include rural cities, towns and water districts. The funds can be used for drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems in rural communities that meet population limits.
“This is a most welcome announcement for the people of Cabo Rojo and Puerto Rico as a whole. Many of Puerto Rico’s landfills have been struggling for years to address capacity and environmental compliance challenges,” said U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Pete Lopez.
“A task that has only been made more difficult after Hurricanes Irma and María generated more than 12 million cubic yards of disaster debris,” he said.
“This loan will help Cabo Rojo’s municipal government build and improve the capacity of its solid waste programs, as well as provide additional disposal alternatives to neighboring municipalities,” Lopez said, adding the improvements will be compliant with state and federal regulations to be protective of public health and the environment.