USDA-Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner was joined today by Lillian Salerno, administrator of USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service, to celebrate Earth Day and help dedicate the new wastewater system in Chaparral, New Mexico.
The Earth Day celebration in Chaparral coincided with hundreds of similar events across the nation to encourage people to be more responsible trustees of the Earth. Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970 to bring awareness and celebrate gains that have made to protect the environment by cleaning up contaminated areas.
“USDA is proud to partner with rural communities like Chaparral to finance wastewater treatment systems that protect the health and safety of local families and protect the environment,” Salerno said. “Earth Day gives us a great opportunity to demonstrate USDA’s commitment to improving the quality of life in rural areas. Projects that help preserve our natural resources are an important part of that commitment.” Salerno traveled from Washington, D.C. to participate in the dedication ceremony.
“Today’s celebration demonstrates that USDA Rural Development remains focused on carrying out its mission to provide funding to build wastewater systems like this one,” Brunner said. “I congratulate Doña Ana County for being a responsible steward of the Earth by making sure the groundwater in Chaparral is protected.”
USDA Rural Development provided $1.75 million to Doña Ana County to install sewer lines that now connect 117 residential and commercial users to the wastewater treatment plant. The new sewer lines have stopped the use of old leaking septic tanks and out-houses that were contaminating the groundwater in the area.
During the ceremony Brunner added, “We at USDA Rural Development will continue to provide a better lifestyle for those who choose to live in rural New Mexico.”
Brunner was referring to the fact that, in the last five years, USDA Rural Development has provided over $1.2 billion in rural New Mexico to finance businesses, housing and community facilities and electric, communications and water and wastewater infrastructure. This includes over $152.5 million for communities such as Chaparral to upgrade or build new water and wastewater systems.