OSWEGO — A total of 824 more Oswego County residents will soon have access to their municipality’s public water supply, thanks to a federal grant recently secured by U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The Democrat lawmakers announced on Wednesday an aid package of $2.6 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide access to safe drinking water for the towns of New Haven and Schroeppel, touting the investment as a win for public health in Oswego County.
The funding is provided through the USDA Rural Development Grant Program, tasked with expanding municipal water access in rural communities. Of the $2.6 million, $1.2 million will be used to expand public water distribution services to 551 residents and 12 businesses in the town of Schroeppel.
Another $1.4 million will be used to create a new water service area to provide safe drinking water for 273 New Haven town residents of a nascent water district, “Water Service Area #9.”
“I am proud to announce this federal investment and will continue fighting to ensure rural communities across upstate New York have the resources they need to build, protect and maintain their infrastructure,” Schumer said in a statement to reporters. “These federal funds will allow the town of New Haven to extend its municipal water system, helping to ensure that all residents have access to the safe and clean drinking water they deserve.”
Gillibrand added that the grant will improve the quality of life for residents of the town of New Having and pledged to “continue to fight in the Senate to ensure all New Yorkers have the resources they need to keep our communities healthy.”
Town officials from Schroeppel and New Haven did not respond to requests for comments by press time Wednesday.
The USDA Rural Development Program provides funding through the Water and Waste Disposal Loans and Grants Program. Grant funding ensures that the necessary investments are made in water and wastewater infrastructure to deliver safe drinking water and protect the environment in rural areas.
In a Wednesday email to The Palladium-Times, Richard Mayfield, state director for USDA’s Rural Development Program, said investments in Oswego County’s two towns are part of an overall $192 million nationwide aid package, distributed to 71 projects across 29 states.
“Safe and reliable water infrastructure is critical to the health, safety and economic vitality of rural America,” Mayfield said. “Without access to safe water and functional wastewater treatment, sustainable growth in rural areas is not possible.”