The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Trump administration are working together to improve the quality of life in rural communities. An outdated water system and contamination have one Utah community finally getting the help it needs.
“A lot of people don’t understand water and water quality,” said Kim Peterson, the mayor of Central Valley, Utah.“In small communities, you have to stay ahead of the process and you always have to be looking ahead to improve your system, because if you’re not improving your system you’re actually going behind.”
In a small community, Peterson said things like infrastructure are hard to keep updated especially when funding isn’t available.
Randy Parker, the state director for USDA Rural Development, said the USDA was able to partner with the community and help look at the current water infrastructure and address the health and safety issues for the residents of Central Valley.
“They found contamination so it was a health and safety issue,” Parker said. “They also found that the old system was losing water which is not a good thing in that arid part of the state, but also allowed for contamination to enter into the system. The third component that was part of this project was to add a chlorination treatment piece to it. So that addressed the health issue even to a greater extent.”
Parker said Central Valley and the USDA were able to address the issue before illness became a problem. Parker himself is from nearby Richfield and has a strong connection to Utah’s rural communities.
“You know what it’s a nice feeling whether it’s in San Juan County and we’re helping address some of the health and welfare needs down there or Brigham City and looking at investments in that area,” Parker said. “Having come from rural Utah and being able to assist rural communities and rural citizens is an opportunity and quite honestly it’s a dream come true.”