Leahy, Sanders, Welch: St. Albans Awarded $10.6 Million In USDA Rural Development Assistance For Wastewater System Improvements

Vermont’s congressional delegation – Senator Patrick Leahy (D), Senator Bernie Sanders (I), and Representative Peter Welch (D) – announced Tuesday that the City of St. Albans was awarded a $10.6 million grant and loan package from United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development to make major improvements to its wastewater treatment plant. The improvements will reduce the inflow of phosphorous pollution to Lake Champlain, increase plant reliability, and improve the plant’s energy efficiency performance.  

The federal grant and loan package consist of a $2,949,000 grant and a $7,717,000 loan. Additional investments of federal and state funds are also contributing to the $18 million project.

The upgrades will enable the City of St. Albans to reduce phosphorous emissions from its wastewater to help it become one of the first communities to achieve lower phosphorous emissions targets under the Lake Champlain Phosphorous Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) agreement and state water quality laws. The upgrades will also help to improve reliability, while incorporating green elements and optimizing energy efficiency.

In a joint statement, Leahy, Sanders, and Welch said, “It’s no secret that much of our nation’s infrastructure is crumbling, including in Vermont. The funds being announced today will help us make real progress on improving that crucial infrastructure, and will help reduce the amount of phosphorous flowing in the lake.  This vital program serves as a lifeline for Vermont’s rural and small communities and we will continue to push for strong funding levels in spite of the Trump administration’s calls for its elimination.”    

St. Albans Mayor Liz Gamache said, “This significant level of support will be instrumental in helping St Albans make improvements to a critical piece of infrastructure - our sewer plant. Not only will it help to address environmental issues including water quality, it also supports the economic vitality that comes with water quality and a healthy environment.”

Tuesday’s announcement comes one week after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded $14.7 million to Vermont to help finance improvements to water infrastructure projects that are essential to protecting public health and the environment. These funds will be primarily used to upgrade sewage plants and drinking water systems, as well as replacing aging infrastructure, throughout the state.

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