May 01, 2019

EPA Announces Funding to Improve Disadvantaged Community Drinking Water

Around $87 billion in EPA funding will go towards improving drinking water in schools and small communities

Around $87 billion in EPA funding will go towards improving drinking water in schools and small communities
Around $87 billion in EPA funding will go towards improving drinking water in schools and small communities.

States, schools, tribes, territories and disadvantaged communities have accessed to nearly $87 million in drinking water funding through two U.S. EPA financing programs.

“EPA is committed to ensuring all Americans, regardless of their zip code, have access to safe and clean drinking water,” said Andrew Wheeler, EPA Administrator, in an EPA release. “With these grants, EPA is fulfilling its core mission of providing states, tribes, and territories with the resources needed to protect children from lead exposure and other contaminants and ensure all American families have safe drinking water.”

Multiple states and schools, among others, are eligible to receive funding from two EPA drinking water grant programs made by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN).

The first grant program, Voluntary Lead Testing in Schools and Child Care, will award $43.7 million to fund testing for lead in drinking water for schools and child care programs. According to EPA, the testing results must be made publicly available.

In the second program, Assistance for Small and Disadvantaged Communities, the EPA will award $42.8 million to support communities by bringing drinking water systems into compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act. According to EPA, funding also can be used for household water quality testing, including testing for unregulated contaminants.

The EPA has recently taken actions to modernize water infrastructure and reduce exposure to contaminants in drinking water, according to the release.

For example, in 2018 the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds put $9.6 billion toward drinking water and clean water infrastructure loans and refinancing and also disbursed $8.8 billion for drinking water and clean water infrastructure projects.

According to the release, EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program issued eight loans totaling more than $2 billion in WIFIA credit assistance to finance more than $4 billion for water infrastructure projects. The EPA also is planning the first overhaul of the Lead and Copper Rule since 1991. According to the release, It plans to release a proposed rule this summer.

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