EPA Awards Colorado $1,170,000 to Improve Water Quality

EPA Awards Colorado $1,170,000 to Improve Water Quality

The EPA and the state partner with the agriculture industry to restore watersheds in the Lower Arkansas and Lower Gunnison River basins.

As of October 17, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $1,170,000 to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environmental (CDPHE) to improve water quality in streams, rivers, and lakes. The funding comes from a grant: the Nonpoint Source Program Clean Water Act (Section 319), which is given to states to implement programs to addresses a number of pollution sources in surface and groundwater and meet water quality standards.

Two critical river basins—the Lower Arkansas and Lower Gunnison—will be the subjects of this grant. “These rivers are important environmental, economic and recreational resources for the state of Colorado.  By working together to reduce pollutants, we will continue to improve these beautiful, natural resources well into the future,” said EPA Regional Administrator Gregory Sopkin.

These watershed projects will result in a significant reduction of selenium, metals, and nutrients. More specifically, the grant’s funds will address water quality through agriculture and infrastructure efforts. CDPHE will use the grant money to support the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District to implement agricultural best management practices that improve water quality in the Arkansas River.

In addition, the grant will fund some work on the Lower Aspen Canal pipeline, and interconnect will be carried out in partnership with the Crawford Water Conservancy District to address issues with water quality in the Gunnison River basin.

The money will also help fund outreach, education, and planning.

The EPA is making a national effort to help America’s water stay clean and safe. According to the EPA news release on the topic, this year, EPA is distributing more than $165 million in section 319 grants to states, territories, and tribes to reduce nonpoint runoff in urban and rural settings. The grant will address efforts to reduce excess nutrients that can enter water sources and cause public health and environmental challenges. Over the last two years, states restored over 80 waters and reduced over 17 million pounds of nitrogen, nearly 4 million pounds of phosphorus, and 3.5 million tons of excess sediments through section 319 projects.

The 319 grant received by Colorado complements the $12.7 million Clean Water State Revolving Fund grant Colorado received this year. For more information on EPA’s Nonpoint Source grant program, visit https://www.epa.gov/nps/319-grant-program-states-and-territories.