WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced that a $5,000,000 federal loan was awarded to the Village of North Baltimore for Phase II of the separation of the combined sewer collection and storm water systems. The funds, awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development Water and Waste Disposal Loan Program, will bring the village into compliance with Ohio Environmental Protection Agency regulations and the Ohio Water Quality Standards Program.

“Ohio’s rural communities and small towns face a heavy burden when financing infrastructure projects,” Brown said. “This improvement project will provide residents with a modern system that improves water quality in North Baltimore.”

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.