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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Inside INdiana Business) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing $268 million to modernize rural drinking water and wastewater infrastructure across 28 states, including Indiana. The department is awarding Rockport-based REO Water Inc. more than $12.6 million to make improvements that meet the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s regulations.

The department says the project will help remove any potential health risk for nearly 5,000 people in the service area. REO Water’s current water system is more than 50 years old.

The project will also bring REO Water into compliance with American Water Works Association and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations.

“Upgrading the infrastructure that delivers safe drinking water and modern wastewater management facilities will improve public health and drive economic development in our small towns and cities,” said Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand.

The USDA is funding 76 projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program. In total, the department says the investments will improve rural water infrastructure for more than 265,000 residents and businesses across the country.

ROCKPORT, Ind. (AP) — A southern Indiana animal shelter that was the focus of allegations it was freezing kittens to death as an alternative to accepted forms of euthanasia is being shut down.

The Spencer County Animal Control Board voted Thursday to close the Spencer County Animal Shelter and remove its director.

Last month, the Spencer County Prosecutor Daniel Wilkinson announced the results of a state police investigation of the facility and said no criminal charges would be filed. He said police found no direct evidence or information that live animals were placed in a freezer to euthanize them.

Still, the findings prompted concern among the board.

A former shelter worker alleged that she had been asked on two occasions to place live kittens into a plastic bag and then into a freezer.