DENVER, CO, May 19, 2009 -- In a move that stands to create jobs, boost local economies, improve aging water and wastewater infrastructure and protect human health and the environment, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded more than $38.9 million to the State of Montana. This new infusion of money provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will help the state and local governments finance many of the overdue improvements to water projects that are essential to protecting public health and the environment across the state.
"EPA is pleased to provide more than $38.9 million in Recovery Act funds for much needed improvements to Montana's water infrastructure that will benefit the state for decades to come," said Carol Rushin, Acting Regional Administrator. "This funding will protect public health and improve water quality while creating hundreds of green collar jobs in Montana."
The Clean Water State Revolving Fund program will receive more than $19.2 million. It provides low-interest loans for water quality protection projects for wastewater treatment, non-point source pollution control, and watershed and estuary management. The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program will receive $19.5 million. It provides low-interest loans for drinking water systems to finance infrastructure improvements. The program also emphasizes providing funds to small and disadvantaged communities and to programs that encourage pollution prevention as a tool for ensuring safe drinking water.
EPA is also awarding $194,300 in Recovery Act funds for Water Quality Management Planning (WQMP) in Montana. Planning is an important step in EPA's goal to improve water quality in America's lakes, rivers and streams. WQMP grants support a broad range of activities, such as setting standards, monitoring the quality of the water, developing plans to restore polluted waters, and identifying ways to protect healthy waters from becoming polluted. States are also encouraged to use these funds for more innovative planning activities, such as developing plans to adapt to climate change, analyzing trends in water availability and use, and creating low-impact development programs. Grants are awarded to s tate agencies and some of the funds can be awarded to regional and interstate planning organizations.
An unprecedented $6 billion dollars will be awarded to fund water and wastewater infrastructure projects across the country under the Recovery Act in the form of low-interest loans, principal forgiveness and grants. At least 20% of the funds provided under the Recovery Act are to be used for green infrastructure, water and energy efficiency improvements and other environmentally innovative projects.
President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on February 17, 2009, and has directed that the Recovery Act be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability.