EPA backs Pennsylvania’s $141 million water quality improvement plan

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it has approved and helped fund a $141 million plan by Pennsylvania to implement 23 clean water infrastructure projects.
The Intended Use Plan includes an award of $52,518,000 from EPA’s FY 2017 Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF). The plan by the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST), in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is also funded with $10,503,600 state match, repayments from prior CWSRF loans, and interest earnings on CWSRF investments.

“Rebuilding our nation’s water infrastructure is a top priority for President Trump and EPA because all Americans deserve clean water,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “These strategic investments will yield real improvements in water quality for Pennsylvania communities.”

Of the approved projects, those greater than $5 million include projects in three communities involving the construction and installation of new public sewers to replace failing on-lot septic systems at many homes. These failing septic systems leech untreated and partially treated wastewater onto the ground, into the groundwater, and in the surface water of the communities:

  • A collective $25.5 million for four individual projects in Greene Township in Erie County;
  • $11 million to New Castle Sanitation Authority in Lawrence County; and
  • $5.54 million to Howe Township Municipal Authority in Perry County.

The approved projects also include five projects to repair and replace aging infrastructure in the communities’ sewer collection systems. The aging sewers are undersized, cracked and deteriorating causing untreated sewage to overflow into nearby rivers and streams:

  • $17.3 million to Western Westmoreland Municipal Authority in Westmoreland County;
  • $17.5 million to Pleasant Hills Authority in Allegheny County;
  • $10.9 million to Johnstown City in Cambria County;
  • $9.6 million to Yeadon City in Delaware County; and
  • $6.4 million to Lower Yoder Township in Cambria County.

Also approved is $5.5 million to Harrisburg’s Capital Region Water’s Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility in Dauphin County for its Headworks Screening Project which will improve the grit removal system thereby improving the operation and function of the facility.

The CWSRF program provides low interest loans for the construction of wastewater treatment facilities and other projects vital to protecting and improving water quality. The loans help communities keep water and sewer rates more affordable while addressing local water quality problems.

“PENNVEST is fortunate to partner with EPA and the local communities to help make these important clean water projects a reality. Due to the revolving nature of this loan program, repayments are targeted to help additional communities,” said Brion Johnson, executive director.

Alaska gets $18 million for critical water projects

The EPA is awarding more than $16 million to Alaska’s drinking water and clean water revolving loan program funds to help finance improvements to water projects that are essential to protecting public health and the environment. EPA has allotted an additional $2.6 million in funds to further support the state’s safe drinking water program.

The more than $18 million in funding awarded to the state will be used across Alaska for water quality projects that will improve municipal drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, help protect public drinking water systems, make projects more sustainable by increasing water and energy efficiency, and reduce water pollution.

“This funding will help protect drinking water and improve water quality across Alaska,” said Pruitt. “Clean drinking water and proper wastewater treatment are fundamental to protecting people’s health, but aging water infrastructure needs to be upgraded and repaired. EPA’s funding helps Alaska to continue its program to invest in drinking water and wastewater systems and protect people’s health.”

The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program, administrated by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, was awarded $8 million. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund program, also administrated by the Alaska DEC, was awarded $8 million. The Public Water System Supervision program, administered by the Alaska DEC, was allotted $2.6 million.
Alaska’s larger communities rely on these sources of funding to address critical water needs,” said Michelle Hale, director of the Alaska DEC, Division of Water. “This is much-needed funding that supports state public health and water quality projects throughout the state.”

Since the DWSRF program’s inception in 1996, Alaska has received $208 million in annual capitalization grants which, along with the state’s required 20 percent match and prior loan repayments, has provided more than $336 million in DWSRF loans for critical drinking water projects throughout the state. And since 1988, Alaska has received $241 million in annual CWSRF capitalization grants. Combined with state match and repayments, the Alaska DEC has provided more than $505 million in low-interest, CWSRF loans for water quality and wastewater projects.
DWSRF projects in Alaska that have received funding from previous capitalization grants include a new drinking water reservoir near South Anchorage Middle School, new drinking water treatment to help Cordova and Sitka comply with the Surface Water Treatment Rule, and installation of two new drinking water wells for the City of Juneau.

A loan from either of Alaska DEC’s State Revolving Loan Funds comes with interest rates significantly below the market rate. The length of the loan is generally 20 years, but can extend up to 30 years, and the loan can also contain a significant amount of principal forgiveness that does not have to be repaid.

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