USDA Announces $23.4 Million for Uniontown Wastewater Solution
WASHINGTON, D.C.– On Friday, November 16, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a $23.4 million grant to address an ongoing wastewater treatment crisis in Uniontown, Alabama. USDA will work with the municipality to create an outside board which will oversee the development of a new wastewater system for Uniontown residents. Earlier this year, Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) helped secure an increase of $1.8 billion in an omnibus funding bill for USDA water and wastewater infrastructure projects.
“Today’s grant announcement is a huge victory for Uniontown that will have a real-life impact for thousands of Alabamians living in the rural Black Belt,” said Rep. Terri Sewell. “Thank you to Senators Richard Shelby and Doug Jones, Congressman Robert Aderholt, USDA State Rural Development Director Chris Beeker, and all of the state and local stakeholders who helped to make this investment possible. No American family should have to live without access to safe wastewater treatment in the 21st Century. I have met with families in rural Alabama who struggle with the health and economic challenges created by failing wastewater systems. Every day, their stories inspire my fight in Congress for stronger investments in our wastewater infrastructure. USDA’s assistance in Uniontown is an important step forward, but the wastewater crisis facing Alabama’s rural Black Belt is not over. We must continue fighting for Uniontown, Lowndes County, and all of our state’s residents who have to live with inadequate basic resources.”
For over a decade, failing wastewater infrastructure has created enormous health and economic challenges for communities in rural Alabama. Since 2016, the issue has received national and international attention, with the release of a United Nations-sponsored report this year highlighting the failure of wastewater infrastructure in Alabama’s rural Black Belt.
In March, Rep. Sewell worked with House appropriators to secure $1.8 billion in additional funding for water and wastewater infrastructure under USDA as part of an omnibus spending bill. Rep. Sewell has also toured the spray fields in Uniontown and homes in Lowndes County to survey failing and inadequate wastewater systems. In May, the Congresswoman held a health fair in Hayneville, AL with Sen. Jones to raise public awareness about the health consequences associated with failing septic systems and wastewater contamination.
Rep. Sewell has made the repair of wastewater infrastructure a top priority since she was first elected to Congress. In 2013, Rep. Sewell helped White Hall in Lowndes County secure a $1 million grant and $112K loan through the Rural Water and Waste Disposal Program (USDA) which was used to connect 50 homes and businesses to the municipal sewer lines.
Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) is serving her fourth term representing Alabama’s 7th Congressional district. She sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and was recently appointed to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Sewell is a Chief Deputy Whip and serves on the prestigious Steering and Policy Committee of the Democratic Caucus. She is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and serves as Vice Chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus, and Vice Chair of Outreach for the New Democrat Coalition.