Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the funding of a project in California that will improve wastewater services for the community of Los Osos, create construction jobs and support community development. USDA officials made the announcement at the San Luis Obispo County Government Center where they highlighted the environmental, health and economic benefits to be provided to the community. The project is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act).

"This project not only will improve water quality in the community and surrounding area, it contributes to the Obama administration's continued efforts that improve the local quality of life and create opportunities for job growth," Vilsack said. "This project and others like it across the country are contributing to restoring America's economy while improving the quality of life in communities like Los Osos."

The County of San Luis Obispo has been selected to receive an $87 million Recovery Act loan and grant through the USDA Water and Environmental Program. The funding will be used to construct a wastewater system for the community of Los Osos to correct health violations identified by the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.

The community is currently using individual septic tank systems for waste disposal, and residents obtain their drinking water from underground aquifers that contain excess levels of nitrate. The new system will serve approximately 15,000 residents and is expected to bring wastewater discharge levels into compliance with environmental protection requirements, while also ensuring that the residents of Los Osos have an improved drinking water supply and that the Morro Bay National Estuary is protected.

USDA's Water and Environmental Program provides loans and grants to improve water and wastewater infrastructure in rural areas, and to deliver safe drinking water and protect the environment.

The funding of this Recovery Act project is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan and grant agreement. President Obama signed The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law last year. It is designed to jumpstart the nation's economy, create or save millions of jobs, and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so our country can thrive in the 21st century. The Act includes measures to modernize our nation's infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, provide tax relief, and protect those in greatest need.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of 6,100 employees located in 500 state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $142 billion in loans and loan guarantees.


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