EPA Provides Grant to Puerto Rico Community Group

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is providing a $60,000 grant to ENLACE, an organization that serves communities along the Martin Pena Canal in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to educate people about water quality in the canal and what can be done to reduce pollution. The funding is part of the EPA’s Urban Waters program, which supports community efforts to restore and revitalize local canals, rivers, lakes, wetlands, aquifers, estuaries, bays and ocean areas and provide access to them.

ENLACE is a community-based organization whose mission is to rehabilitate the Martin Pena Canal and its bordering communities by building partnerships between the communities and the public and private sector.

"The pollution problems that plague Cano Martin Pena are staggering," said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. "People living in this community deserve clean water and involving the public in restoring this resource will help ensure this water body is eventually cleaned up.”

ENLACE will receive $60,000 to produce programs about water quality for adults and up to 2,000 school children in the densely populated neighborhoods near the Martin Pena Canal. Activities for younger children will include field day events and contests, while older children will learn about water quality monitoring and public health. Adult residents will participate in public meetings and workshops, develop signs related to contamination and carry out waste reduction and recycling activities.

Many urban waterways have been polluted for years by sewage, runoff from city streets and contamination from abandoned industrial facilities. Healthy and accessible urban waters can help local businesses grow and enhance educational, recreational, employment and economic opportunities in nearby communities. By promoting public access to urban waterways, the EPA is helping communities become active participants in restoration and protection.

Through the Urban Waters program, the EPA is awarding grants ranging from $30,000 to $60,000 to 46 organizations throughout the nation. The projects selected for the funding will promote the restoration of urban waters through community engagement and outreach, water quality monitoring and studies, and environmental education and training. To view a list of the grant recipients, visit: http://www.epa.gov/urbanwaters/funding.