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Area governments get federal funding for water treatment projects

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news Bemidji, 56619

Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

WASHINGTON -- Several area local governments won funding for water treatment projects from federal economic stimulus funds, says U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, DFL-8th District.

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Northeast Minnesota received $10 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Projects include:

-- Backus -- $500,000 to reduce nitrogen in groundwater at wastewater treatment plant.

-- Hackensack -- $500,000 to upgrade water treatment to handle contaminated wells.

-- Leech Lake Reservation -- $589,000 for water treatment facility and supply wells.

-- Park Rapids -- $400,000 to build new well house.

"This program helps communities maintain and upgrade their water and sewage systems without placing an undue tax burden on local citizens," said Oberstar. "All water flows down hill and downstream, and it is in everyone's interest to ensure that communities have good wastewater treatment systems."

In 1999, Oberstar added a provision to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Environmental Infrastructure Assistance Program to fund projects in northeast Minnesota. Since that time, the program has invested a total of $16 million in water projects in the 18 counties that comprise Minnesota's 8th Congressional District.

Oberstar is now chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which oversees the program.

"This infusion of stimulus funding is allowing the program to handle a backlog of projects that have needed funding," the 8th District Democrat said. "These are all shovel-ready projects that will put Minnesotans to work in rural communities where unemployment is much higher than the state and national averages."

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