Skip to content

Senator Baldwin Helps Communities in Rural Wisconsin Upgrade Water Infrastructure

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) today shared that five Wisconsin villages will receive U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Water and Waste Disposal Loans and Grants to upgrade and replace aging water and waste water infrastructure. The villages of Wilton, La Valle, Edgar, Wonewoc, and Eleva will receive a combination of low-interest loans and grants to complete water projects, protecting their natural resources, providing clean drinking water, and reducing the cost of these necessary upgrades for rate payers.

“Every community across Wisconsin deserves to live in an environment free from dangerous toxins and have confidence that safe water is coming out of the faucet. But, across the state, I hear about how the cost of aging water infrastructure keeps small communities from making this possible.” said Senator Baldwin. “I was proud to support this additional funding to help our communities get these projects over the finish line, while keeping rates down for residents and ensuring that every Wisconsinite’s drinking water is clean and safe from contaminants.” 

The USDA Water and Waste Disposal Loans and Grants program provides funding for clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage disposal, sanitary solid waste disposal, and storm water drainage to households and businesses in eligible rural areas. The following communities will receive funding:

Village of Wilton received a loan of $300,000.00 and a grant of $824,000.00 to upgrade their waste water treatment facility (WWTF). This project includes upgrading the WWTF to address equipment, lagoon, and process deficiencies to meet current and future permit requirements. The existing WWTF system was constructed in 1980 and has historically struggled to meet current discharge limits. The existing lagoons have a number of items needing to be brought into compliance within WDNR requirements. Most processes and equipment are original to the plant construction and are reaching the end of their useful life and need replacement or upgrading.

Village of La Valle received a loan of $300,000.00 and a grant of $1,145,000.00 to upgrade and expand the village's water system. The village has benzene contaminants in well # 1, their only water source, and will be using the funds to pay for temporary treatment of water until a suitable well site is found. Funds will also be used for well site investigation, testing, and the construction of new well #2 and well house. The higher-than-normal levels of benzene the village is experiencing is resulting in a health and sanitary issue for the community water system.

Village of Edgar received a loan of $4,335,000.00 and a grant of $1,000,000.00 to improve their WWTF. The existing WWTF, originally constructed in the 1930's, and upgraded in 1968, needs improvements to keep the system running efficiently and within requirements. This project includes improvements that will recondition several of the treatment processes, replace a major portion of the electrical system, and will include the conversion of the blower/generator room to a lab/office. These improvements will allow the WWTF to remove phosphorus both chemically and biologically to achieve the phosphorus waste load allocation imposed by the Wisconsin River total maximum daily load.

Village of Wonewoc received a loan of $900,000.00 and a grant of $2,634,000.00 to upgrade and expand their WWTF. The WWTF, last updated in 1979, is located in the floodway and has experienced extreme flooding events. The collection system also has significant inflow and infiltration issues and in turn, is not able to handle the peak flows during heavy rain events. In 2018, the WWTF exceeded the design flow capacity five out of 12 months and experienced a treatment facility overflow. Upgrades and expansion include an extension of the aeration activated sludge system to a new site, and the conversion of existing wet well to a new floodproofed pump station at the existing WWTF to pump the waste water to the new WWTF in the new location.

Village of Eleva received a loan of $641,000.00 and a grant of $124,000.00 to upgrade the water system. The existing system is not functioning as the village needs, and the water supply currently exceeds the allowable levels of iron and manganese due to a deficient sand filter. The water treatment plant is more than 70 years old, outdated, and has surpassed its useful life. Well #1 is providing sufficient water to the system currently, but the village has had to reduce the flow rate through the filter, reducing the fill rate of the water tower and is not ideal for the long term. Because well #1 is the only source of water in the community, there is a risk of well failure that would result in no water supply to the community. This project will include a new water treatment plant and water main connecting well #2 and the new water treatment plant, updates to the well #1 well house, and a centralization of the office and equipment storage into one location for the water treatment plant.