Yerington celebrated Earth Day on Wednesday with a volunteer fair at the fire station, a service project and an announcement the community has been approved for more than $36 million in low-interest federal loans and grants to replace aging wastewater collection lines and water lines.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Acting State Director Herb Shedd announced Yerington has been approved for $32.8 million in USDA Water and Environmental Program loans and $3.4 million in grants to fix old and leaky sewage pipes and water lines that are a constant maintenance concern and threaten water quality in the area.
“Each year USDA celebrates Earth Day in a rural community that has shown commitment to protecting the environment,” Shedd said. “Yerington is replacing water lines and a waste water collection system that is nearly 90 years old, is inefficient and threatens the groundwater. This is a cost effective way to improve infrastructure and protect the ground water for years to come.”
After the funding announcement, a group of about 25 volunteers completed a service project at the city of Yerington Animal Shelter. Volunteers from the Walker River Conservancy District, the Right of Passage, and many others helped plant trees and paint the office at the shelter. The Yerington Animal Shelter and Yerington Animal Protection Society helped coordinate the effort.
The city of Yerington is contributing $2.2 million to the infrastructure project for an overall project investment of $38 million. The Yerington Paiute Tribe Colony will also benefit from the system upgrades from the grant portion of the funding. The cost for the colony improvements was fully funded by grant programs that were a direct result of collaborative partnerships; no costs will be incurred for that work by the city of Yerington. The loan portion of the funding is approved for a 40-year term with a 1.375 percent interest rate.
Rural Development funds will be used to replace 26 miles of aged and decrepit water lines that serve 1,050 customers in Yerington, The existing system has exceeded its useful life since its original construction in the 1930s. The new water lines will ensure access to clean water and will increase and stabilize water pressure for fire protection. The first phase of this project will replace more than 10 miles of existing pipeline in the downtown Yerington corridor from US 95A/West Goldfield Avenue to the north all the way to Bridge Street to the south. New 16-inch connection to the storage tanks will also be installed during this phase.
The wastewater system improvements will replace a 1930s era wastewater collection system with aged clay pipes. More than 102,000 linear feet of old sewer main will be replaced, including the wastewater collection lines in the Yerington Colony. Breakage problems will be resolved and groundwater will be protected as a result of the project.
Many community service volunteers participated in the Yerington Earth Day Fair to talk with students about their programs and present information on environmental stewardship and conservation. Students filled sand bags, learned about pollution and pollinators and looked at hatchery fish from the Mason Valley Hatchery.
Participants included Yerington Tribe, Yerington Animal Protection Society, Yerington Area Cat Control, Safe Haven Animal Rescue, Rotary, 4-H, Healthy Communities Coalition, city of Yerington, the Mason Valley Boys and Girls Club, USDA Rural Development, Farr West Engineering, Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Nevada Rural Water Association and the Nevada Department of Wildlife.