Puerto Rico to Receive Nearly $72 M for Water Projects

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, said the agency has awarded nearly $72 million to Puerto Rico through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

This infusion of money, a combined total of $71,646,800, will help the commonwealth and local governments finance overdue improvements to wastewater and drinking water systems and conduct water quality planning. Puerto Rico Gov. Luis G. Fortuño joined Jackson and announced the awards July 14 at a press conference in San Juan.

“EPA is working to revitalize communities that have been hit hardest by this economic downturn and creating solutions where they’re needed most. Governor Fortuño has been a powerful advocate for bringing recovery to Puerto Rico and is working closely with EPA to get the local economy moving forward,” said Jackson. “These are investments in our core mission of protecting people’s health and the environment. The jobs they create will strengthen the local economy and build a new foundation for economic prosperity.”

"We are enthused by the arrival of much needed Recovery Act funds and stand ready to put them to work as soon as possible. These funds will be used for the construction and modernization of five wastewater treatment plants in the center of the Island that are ready-to-go. We appreciate Administrator Jackson’s commitment to improving Puerto Rico’s quality of drinking water. We look forward to continue working with the EPA to ensure that all Puerto Ricans are guaranteed clean water and a better environment,” said Fortuño.

Here is the funding breakdown:

  • $51,630,500 has been awarded to the Puerto Rico Department of Environmental Quality, which will provide money to municipal governments and wastewater utilities for projects to protect lakes, ponds and streams in communities across the commonwealth. The grant will go to the commonwealth’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund program, which provides low-interest loans for water quality protection projects for wastewater treatment, non-point source pollution control, and watershed and estuary management.
  • $19.5 million will go to the Puerto Rico Department of Health to finance improvements to water projects essential to protecting public health and the environment across the commonwealth. The funds will go to the commonwealth’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program, which provides low-interest loans for drinking water systems to finance infrastructure improvements.
  • $526,300 is for the Commonwealth’s Water Quality Management Planning (WQMP) grant program. WQMP grants support a broad range of activities, such as setting standards, monitoring the quality of the water, developing plans to restore polluted waters, and identifying ways to protect healthy waters from becoming polluted. States and commonwealths are also encouraged to use these funds for more innovative planning activities like developing plans to adapt to climate change, analyzing trends in water availability and use, and creating low-impact development programs. Grants are awarded to state agencies and some of the funds can be awarded to regional and interstate planning organizations.

At least 20 percent of the funds provided under the recovery act are to be used for green infrastructure, water and energy efficiency improvements, and other environmentally innovative projects.

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