USDA to enhance water quality in southeast Iowa

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced nearly $25m to improve water quality in southeast Iowa.

US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced funding through USDA's Water and Environmental programmes in order to help the City of Fairfield make improvements to its wastewater facility.

Vilsack said: "The recent flooding in Iowa and other parts of the country has demonstrated just how important high-functioning wastewater systems are to our communities. Sanitary waste disposal systems and safe drinking water are vital not only to public health, but also to the economic vitality of rural America.

"Building and maintaining water infrastructure creates jobs, boosts the economy, provides rural families with safe and reliable water, and this particular investment will help to minimize the impact of future flooding on homes and businesses in southeast Iowa."

The City of Fairfield will receive a $24,995,000 direct loan from the USDA Rural Development to rehabilitate the city's existing wastewater facility.

The existing plant, which was originally constructed in 1966, and improved in 2013, is not able to meet discharge limits and overflows to a local stream during heavy rain events.

Using the loan amount city leaders will be able to implement a master plan over the next ten years to make improvement to the treatment plant.

Much of the collection system will be repaired and high flows during rains would be addressed.

As part of treatment plant upgrades, new trash screens, new grit removal systems and pumps well be introduced in addition to an enlarged flow equalisation basin.