EPA Awards First of Recovery Act Water Funds

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the first of the Clean Water (CWSRF) and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) grants under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009, according to April press releases. CWSRF grants have been made to New York, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Nebraska. DWSRF grants have been awarded to Kansas and Nebraska.

New York
In the single largest grant in its history, EPA on April 3 awarded more than $430 million to the state of New York for wastewater infrastructure projects.

“New York state is committed to innovative approaches to building environmentally sustainable and energy efficient wastewater treatment technologies. This funding will help protect our environment and will support thousands of jobs across the state at a time when we need it most,” said Gov. David Paterson.

The state will provide at least 20 percent, or at least $86 million, of its Recovery Act funds to “green” projects, those that involve green infrastructure, improve energy or water efficiency, or that have other environmentally innovative aspects.

The grant will be held by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and implemented by the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation, a state-run organization that helps public and private entities comply with federal and state environmental requirements.

West Virginia
The agency awarded more than $48.8 million to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

“West Virginia now has the ‘green light’ to fund projects that will upgrade water infrastructure and invigorate local economies across the state,” said William T. Wisniewski, acting administrator of EPA’s mid-Atlantic region. “This financing is crucial when you consider that some small, rural areas will get wastewater treatment systems for the first time.”

This grant is a partial award of the $61,092,100 available through the Recovery Act to West Virginia's CWSRF program. The remaining 20 percent for Green Reserve Projects -- $12,218,428 -- will be awarded to the Department of Environmental Protection later in the year.

North Carolina
EPA awarded $70,729,100 million to the North Carolina Department of Environment & Natural Resources.

“This award is significant because it marks the first investment of EPA stimulus funds from the American Recovery ad Reinvestment Act to North Carolina,” said Stan Meiburg, acting regional administrator in Atlanta. “With this investment, we are embarking on an unprecedented effort to create green jobs and protect human health and the environment.”

EPA awarded $49,878,100 million to the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority.

The agency also awarded $19.5 million to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

"This funding will go a long way toward fixing aging infrastructure in urban and rural communities in the region," said William Rice, acting regional administrator. "Clean drinking water is essential for both healthy communities and healthy local economies. These funds will help fix aging infrastructure and provide good-paying jobs."

EPA awarded $20,045,025 to the Nebraska for wastewater infrastructure and $19.5 million for water infrastructure. Both grants will be managed through the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.

The CWSRF program provides low-interest loans for water quality protection projects for wastewater treatment, non-point source pollution control, and watershed and estuary management. The DWSRF program also provides loans but for drinking water systems to finance infrastructure improvements. The drinking water program also emphasizes providing funds to small and disadvantaged communities and to programs that encourage pollution prevention as a tool for ensuring safe drinking water.

An unprecedented $6 billion dollars will be awarded to fund water and wastewater infrastructure projects across the country under the Recovery Act in the form of low-interest loans, principal forgiveness and grants.