The Minnesota Public Facilities Authority has awarded $37.2 million for projects to strengthen municipal infrastructures for drinking water and wastewater treatment through Minnesota.
The funding comes from the American Recovery and Infrastructure Act, the federal spending bill designed to stimulate the economy. The Public Facilities Authority received a total of $107 million and plans to distribute the rest of the funds within the next several weeks.
"This additional federal funding will help us expand a program that is vitally important to Minnesota communities and our state's water quality," said Paul Eger, commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. "The money will help cities address growing wastewater treatment infrastructure needs, improving our state's lakes and rivers."
Montevideo received the largest award -- about $14.9 million in loans and grants. The small western Minnesota city plans to use the funds to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant. The plant has not undergone major improvements since 1993.
"We're surprised and we're pleased," said Montevideo City Manager Steven Jones.
Jones said the improvement will create several short-term jobs. Chippewa County's unemployment rate jumped from 5.1 percent in 2008 to about 8.2 percent in April.
Howard Lake, Duluth, New York Mills, St. Hilaire, Verndale, Dassel, and the Duluth-area's Western Lake Superior Sanitary District also received funding.