WASHINGTON D.C. - U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced $715,000 in new federal loans to improve water systems in Holmes County by the Rural Development’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program. The funds will be used for expanding and upgrading the Walnut Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.

"All Ohioans deserve access to clean water, but too many communities are struggling to afford costly, but necessary, upgrades to sewer systems," Brown said. "Investing in our water infrastructure is not just good for our health, it also helps attract new economic development to the state."

Treating water is a vital public health requirement that the USDA grants will help communities fulfill. Data from the Environmental Protection Agency shows that a major water line breaks, on average, every two minutes. 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.

Senator Brown, along with Senator George V. Voinovich (R-OH), authored the Clean Water Affordability Act in April 2009. The legislation updates 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.