EPA to fund California infrastructure improvements

December 2010 Vol. 65 No. 12

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced nearly $300 million in federal funding to improve aging water and wastewater infrastructure and protect human health and the environment for people in the state of California. This new infusion of money through infrastructure capitalization grants will help state and local governments finance many of the overdue improvements to water projects that are essential to protecting public health and the environment throughout California.

The EPA has awarded $127 million to the California Department of Public Health for drinking water infrastructure projects and $147 million to the State Water Resources Control Board for wastewater projects. The funding will update sewage and water treatment facilities and support drinking water projects in Northern, Central and Southern California. At least 20 percent of the funds provided are to be used for green infrastructure, water and energy efficiency improvements, and other environmentally innovative projects.

The funding will be distributed by the Water Resources Control Board and the California Department of Public Health. The funds will provide low-interest loans and principal forgiveness loans for water quality protection projects for wastewater treatment, non-point source pollution control, and watershed and estuary management. They will also provide low-interest loans or principal forgiveness loans for drinking water systems in order to finance infrastructure improvements. The programs emphasize funding for small and disadvantaged communities and encourage pollution prevention as a tool for ensuring safe drinking water.