NEW SHOREHAM, RI – U.S. Senator Jack Reed and U.S. Representative Jim Langevin today visited Block Island and announced that the Town of New Shoreham is receiving $1.2 million in federal funding to upgrade the Block Island Waste Water Treatment Facility and all five existing pump stations to ensure the facility continues to protect the community from harmful pollutants and preserve surrounding wetlands, coastal ponds, and water resources.  The Town of New Shoreham received both a $561,700 grant and a $689,000 low interest rate loan through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Water and Waste Disposal Program. 

“The strength of our local economy depends on the health of our water resources. Wastewater treatment is essential to prevent pathogens and nutrients from impairing the water supply and posing a threat to public health and the environment,” said Reed,  who, as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, helps oversee the USDA Rural Development Water and Waste Disposal Program budget and is working to increase the program’s funding in Fiscal Year (FY) 2014.  The pending Senate Appropriations Committee-approved FY14 Agriculture spending bill increases funding for the USDA Rural Development Water and Waste Disposal Program by nearly $240 million above the FY 2013 level. “I am proud to have helped secure the federal funds that are supporting these improvement projects, including the replacement of a critical section of sewer main adjacent to Harbor Pond.  Modernizing our water infrastructure is not only essential to ensuring quality water service for Rhode Islanders and reducing pollution, but these projects also put Rhode Islanders to work. This is a wise investment for public health and safety, the environment, and the economy.  The federal government must be a reliable partner when it comes to maintaining healthy, safe water in our communities, and I will continue to champion funding to upgrade our water infrastructure.”

“Block Island is one of Rhode Island’s jewels, with its natural beauty and robust tourism. In order to preserve that environment and further strengthen the local economy, it is essential that we make smart investments, and I was proud to join Senator Reed in support of this infrastructure project,” said Rep. Langevin. “The $1.2 million in federal funds will benefit year-round and seasonal residents by providing crucial upgrades to New Shoreham’s Waste Water Treatment Facility, while protecting the island’s natural assets from harmful pollutants.”