WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced that a $250,000 grant was awarded to the Village of West Lafayette to expand the capacity of their Wastewater Treatment Plant in West Lafayette.  The funds were provided by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). The expanded facility will also serve the neighboring Village of Fresno. 

“Ohio’s small towns face a heavy burden when financing infrastructure projects,” Brown said.  “This grant supports efforts to construct improvements that encourage new economic development throughout Coshocton County.” 

These improvements will increase the plant’s capacity by 45 percent. The ARC grant, which will be combined with $1,797,991 in local and state funds, also has the potential to spur future investments in the area.

ARC provides funding for several hundred projects each year that create thousands of new jobs, improve local water and sewer systems, increase school readiness, expand access to health care, assist local communities with strategic planning, and provide technical, managerial, and marketing assistance to emerging new businesses.  ARC is a federal-state partnership that works with the people of Appalachia to create opportunities for self-sustaining economic development and improved quality of life. 

ARC awards grants from funds appropriated to the Commission annually by Congress.

Brown, along with then-Senator George V. Voinovich (R-OH), authored the Clean Water Affordability Act in April 2009. The legislation aims to update the EPA clean water affordability policy to provide for a full and accurate representation of the financial impacts clean water investment programs place on communities struggling to meet federal regulations for improving water infrastructure. It would also provide grants to cash-strapped communities to make necessary renovations to so-called “combined sewage overflow” (CSO) systems - sewer systems that collect sanitary sewage and storm water runoff in a single pipe system.

Studies indicate that for every $1 billion invested in infrastructure projects, between 35,000 and 50,000 jobs are created. Beyond job creation, investment in water and sewer infrastructure meets public health and safety needs and helps communities attract new businesses and residents.

Brown, an outspoken voice for Ohio’s rural communities, delivered the keynote address at the 2010 Rural Community Conference in Columbus last year.