News Releases from HeadquartersWater (OW)

Funding will help better protect public health and the environment in small communities

05/12/2021

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced over $17 million in grant funding to help provide training and technical assistance to small drinking water and wastewater systems that often serve small communities and rural America. This funding will improve public health and environmental protection by helping to ensure that drinking water in these communities is safe and that wastewater is treated before being responsibly returned to the environment.

“Small towns and rural America are the foundation that support progress and prosperity in this country, and EPA is committed to investing in these vital areas,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “The American Jobs Plan recognizes this imperative and calls for further investment in small and rural communities to ensure that their water systems have the resources needed to provide essential services.”

Approximately 97 percent of the nation’s 145,000 public water systems serve fewer than 10,000 people. More than 80 percent of these systems serve fewer than 500 people. Many small systems face unique challenges—including aging infrastructure and workforce—in providing reliable drinking water and wastewater services that meet federal and state regulations. Recipients of the grant awards will offer technical assistance to small public water systems to achieve and maintain compliance with regulations. This technical assistance may include circuit-rider and multi-state regional technical assistance programs, training and site visits, as well as training or technical assistance to diagnose and troubleshoot system operational and compliance-related problems and identify solutions

EPA anticipates that it will award grants to the following recipients once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied:

Rural Community Assistance Partnership

  • $6.15 million to provide training and technical assistance for small public water systems to achieve and maintain compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act, including improving financial and managerial capacity.  
  • $1.7 million to work with private well owners to help improve water quality.

National Rural Water Association

  • $6.15 million to provide training and technical assistance for small public water systems to achieve and maintain compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act, including improving financial and managerial capacity.

University of New Mexico

  • $2.7 million to provide training and technical assistance for small public water systems to achieve and maintain compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act, including improving financial and managerial capacity.  
  • $1 million to work with small publicly-owned wastewater and on-site/decentralized wastewater systems to improve water quality.

For more information, visit: https://www.epa.gov/dwcapacity/training-and-technical-assistance-small-systems-funding.

Background

Training and tools to improve small system operations and management practices, promote sustainability and support EPA’s mission to protect public health and the environment. The areas of assistance include asset management, capital improvement planning, fiscal planning and rate setting, water loss reduction, water system collaboration and partnerships, managerial leadership, funding coordination, as well as training and technical assistance to assist in achieving compliance with National Primary Drinking Water Regulations.

Additionally, EPA provides financial assistance to public water systems through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. The agency also continues to work with its federal partners, including United States Department of Agriculture, to collaborate on programmatic missions that will enhance the implementation of the drinking water program. EPA’s Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Grant Program is another tool to support communities with a focus on critical improvements for public health protection in small communities.
 



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