Tester Announces More Than $12 Million to Upgrade Water Infrastructure in Rural Montana

Funding will increase access to drinking water in Harlowton, improve waste water disposal in Choteau

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced $12,286,000 in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) funding to improve water infrastructure in Harlowton and Choteau, Montana. Funding comes in the form of $7.758 million in USDA Water and Waste Disposable Grants, and $4.528 million in USDA Water and Waste Disposable Loans.

“Water is life, and ensuring that folks in rural Montana have reliable access to clean drinking water is absolutely critical to keeping our rural communities strong,” said Tester. “Small towns and tight knit communities are what make Montana so special, and securing a steady supply of clean drinking water will boost economic growth in Harlowton and Choteau and help protect our Montana way of life for generations to come.”

The Central Montana Regional Water Authority will receive a $7.36 million grant and a $3.91 million loan to ensure Harlowton and surrounding communities have clean drinking water. The funding will be used to upgrade water infrastructure for Harlowton and five additional rural communities in Central Montana through the construction of things like a disinfection building, water pumps, a 24 mile water transmission main, and various connections along the water pipeline. The project is expected to directly benefit more than 1,000 Montanans according to the USDA.

The city of Choteau will receive a $398,000 grant and a $618,000 loan to replace waterlines and improve waste disposal systems. The funding will be used to improve Choteau’s water and waste disposal systems by upgrading and replacing 6,000 feet of aging cast-iron waterline with PVC pipe. The project is expected to provide reliable and clean drinking water to more than 1,700 Montanans according to the USDA.

As the Senate’s only working farmer, Tester knows how critical access to clean water is for rural communities. He recently passed his bipartisan infrastructure package through the Senate which will make historic, urgently-needed investments in Montana’s water infrastructure. He also recently led a bipartisan group of his colleagues in urging Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to make critical Montana water projects eligible for funding available through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Tester was the only member of the Montana delegation to vote in favor of ARPA.