Whitmer administration deploys federal funds to protect clean water in rural Michigan 

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By Kyle Kaminski

March 11, 2024

Millions of dollars in federal funding provided through President’s Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help improve wastewater treatment systems and replace drinking water mains in several rural Michigan communities.

MICHIGAN—Tens of millions of dollars in federal funding awarded in Michigan this month are set to help protect clean drinking water in several rural communities—including long-sought improvements to wastewater treatment systems and the replacement of drinking water lines.

The Michigan Infrastructure Office this month announced that Michigan received more than $45 million in grants and loans from the US Department of Agriculture, with a clear emphasis on ensuring rural Michiganders have access to clean drinking water in their local communities.

“Rural Michigan is a fundamental piece of our economy, and its potential is undeniable,” Zachary Kolodin, the state’s chief infrastructure officer, said in a statement. “By investing in modern infrastructure from reliable internet to clean water, we can empower these communities to create jobs, attract new residents, and thrive. I applaud the Biden Administration and our congressional delegation for working together to make this investment in our rural communities.”

All told, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded $772 million this month through its Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program—which was funded through President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and designed largely to benefit those living in the country’s more rural areas by improving their access to a cleaner, safer supply of drinking water.

In Michigan, 10 communities were selected to receive funds through the program this month:

  • The village of Mayville received a $4.5 million loan and a $10 million grant to improve its  aging (and increasingly ineffective) sewer and wastewater lagoon system.
  • The village of White Pigeon received an $11.8 million loan to replace about 7,500 linear feet of water mains, improving the overall safety of drinking water for local residents. 
  • The village of Constantine received a $6.6 million loan and a $500,000 grant to finish recommissioning its shuttered wastewater plant and improve the local water system.
  • The city of Lowell received a $3.9 million loan to replace about 4,800 feet of gravity-fed wastewater collection mains, which will lead to overall improvements in its water system.
  • The village of Lexington received a $2.4 million loan to make improvements to its local water system, including doubling the existing capacity and adding a ground storage tank.
  • The village of Mendon received a $1.8 million loan to improve its drinking water system.
  • The village of Ellsworth received a $1.6 million grant to improve its wastewater system.
  • The village of Baraga received a $1.3 million loan and a $700,000 grant to complete the third phase of improvements to the village’s wastewater and drinking water systems.
  • The city of Albion received a $1.1 million loan to update the city’s aging wastewater treatment system, including with high-efficiency machines to help lower energy costs.
  • The city of Wakefield was awarded a $575,000 loan to complete maintenance on its water distribution system—including improvements to help boost water main capacity.

“Protecting our water is a priority and I’m pleased to see our federal, state and city governments partner to get this done,” state Rep. Jim Haadsma (D-Battle Creek) said in a statement.

In addition to the $45 million awarded in Michigan this week to support clean water projects, the USDA also announced another $9.7 million to help boost access to high-speed internet in rural and Tribal communities. In Michigan, Merit Network Inc. was picked to receive about $1 million to develop plans in Muskegon, Roscommon, Van Buren, Ogemaw, and Saginaw counties.

In a statement, US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Michigan) said that access to the internet and clean water should be treated as a basic human right—not a privilege reserved only for the wealthy.

“This is a great example of seeing federal dollars make an impact for our kids, their opportunities, our local economies, and keeping people in Michigan,” Slotkin said. “We need universal broadband and clean drinking water, and this announcement supports that work.”

State officials said that Michigan has brought home more than $10 billion in federal funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support infrastructure improvements—including another $14 million grant to help revitalize West Shore Drive in Leelanau County and $1.5 billion to expand high-speed internet access to unserved and underserved communities statewide.

READ MORE: Federal funds connect thousands of Michiganders to high-speed internet

For the latest Michigan news, follow The ‘Gander on Twitter.

Follow Political Correspondent Kyle Kaminski here.


  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.



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