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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Inside INdiana Business) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing $281 million in 106 projects to improve water and wastewater infrastructure in rural communities in 36 states and Puerto Rico. As a part of the investment, Indiana is set to receive $14.5 million in grants and loans.

The USDA’s Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand said the investments will bring modern and reliable water and wastewater infrastructure to rural communities.

Through the USDA’s Water and Environmental Program, the Delaware County town of Eaton will receive $5.3 million in loans and $9.4 million in grants. The investment will be used to bring the town’s water utility into compliance with all of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s regulations and effluent quality of water. The current water system is over 70 years old, and the water distribution pipe is made of cement and asbestos.

The department says the project will remove the use of potentially harmful materials, provide better tasting water, and remove any potential health risk. The project is expected to benefit the town’s 1,805 residents.

“These investments will replace deteriorating, leaking water pipes with new ones and upgrade water handling systems that are decades old. These investments create jobs and improve public health and safety for our rural neighbors,” said Brand.

The projects are being funded through the USDA’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program, and the USDA says the investments will improve water infrastructure, public health and environmental quality for residents and businesses throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

EATON, Ind. (WISH) – A central Indiana man died Wednesday after police say he drove through a stop sign, according to the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office.

It happened about 3:40 p.m. on North Walnut Street and County Road West 100 North in northern Delaware County. That’s north of Muncie and just east of Eaton.

Police say 53-year-old Jackson Pryor died when a minivan hit his car.

A female driver and two children in the minivan went to the hospital with injuries not considered to be life-threatening.