Sending Office: Honorable Terri A. Sewell
Sent By:

Leads: Reps. Terri A. Sewell, Ron Kind, Mike Rogers, Daniel Kildee  

Deadline: Wednesday, April 3 at NOON

Signers: Sewell, Kind, Mike Rogers, Kildee, Bustos, DeFazio, González Colón, Rouda, David Scott, Danny K. Davis, Hill, Khanna, Sablan, Luján, Rochester, Slotkin, Dingell, Maloney, Johnson, O’Halleran, McEachin, Cleaver 

Supporting Organizations: Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP)

Dear Colleague:

Please join us in sending the following letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA and Related Agencies Subcommittee supporting the USDA’s Household Water Well System Grant program at $20,000,000 in FY2020.

In the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, the USDA’s Household Water Well System Grant program was expanded to include individually owned household decentralized wastewater systems. By expanding this program, Congress strengthened existing federal resources
to assist in the financing of wastewater systems for rural Americans not serviced by municipal wastewater treatment systems.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey, as of 2013, 1.25 million housing units across all 50 states lack adequate plumbing. More specifically, as of 2015, there are nearly 200,000 housing units in the United States without a sewage
system altogether – meaning these homes do not have an adequate method for disposing of human waste.

Rural communities often do not have the financial and technical resources available to larger municipalities, which can often lead to public health, economic and environmental consequences for rural Americans. This is why we are requesting expanded federal
investment in rural decentralized water systems.

Providing increased funding for rural Americans to access financing for decentralized water programs will protect the health and safety of Americans on private wells and septic systems and the source water we all rely on each day. 

If you would like to sign on to our letter or have any questions, please contact Hillary Beard (Rep. Terri A. Sewell) at or Ben Hutterer (Rep. Ron Kind) at



April 1, 2019

The Honorable Sanford Bishop

Chairman, Subcommittee on Agriculture

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515


The Honorable Jeff Fortenberry

Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Agriculture

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515


Dear Chairman Bishop and Ranking Member Fortenberry:

As you begin work on the Fiscal Year 2020 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, we ask that $20 million be provided for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA)
Household Water Well System Grant program. The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018
(2018 Farm Bill) expanded the program to include grants and loans for individually-owned decentralized wastewater systems and increased the authorization to $20 million.

The Household Water Well System Grant program has demonstrated success in supporting loans and grants to low-and moderate-income households in rural areas for the installation, treatment, or upgrades of private water wells. They are also used for maintaining
certain individually-owned decentralized wastewater systems in areas not served by a public utility. Further, in the 2018 Farm Bill, the program received extended authorization, which will allow for on-site wastewater recycling projects to qualify. This program
will help people living on well water protect their drinking water from natural and man-made pollutants in the environment and stop further contamination from septic tanks.

More than 15 million private wells provide drinking water to over 47 million people in the U.S., and over a million homes across the country lack adequate plumbing. Providing increased funding to the Household Water Well Loan and Grant program will protect
the health and safety of Americans on private wells or septic systems, and the source water they rely on each day.

We appreciate your consideration of this important request and look forward to working with you to support the needs of rural communities throughout the nation.


Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Agriculture, Appropriations

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