The U.S. EPA has announced over $278 million in funding for American Indian Tribes and Alaska Native Villages to improve water and wastewater infrastructure.
The total amount is EPA’s largest ever investment of annual water infrastructure funding to tribes and Alaska Native Villages. It includes approximately $38 million from a new Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities Tribal Grant Program to address emerging contaminants, including PFAS, in drinking water systems serving tribal populations.
"This funding opportunity isn't just a great opportunity for our Nation, but a great opportunity for all Tribal Nations that are looking for assistance with tribal water systems,” said Lummi Vice Chairman Terrence Adams. “Tribal people have an important relationship with the water, and we believe that it is our inherent responsibility to take care of the water as it cares for us.”
In addition to household drinking water and wastewater services, tribes may use funds to reduce exposure to emerging contaminants, such as PFAS, and replace lead service lines.
As part of the funding distribution, the Alaska Rural and Native Villages Grant Program will receive $39.6 million in FY 2023 through annual appropriation funds. These funds may be used for construction of high priority drinking water and wastewater facilities in rural Alaska, training, technical assistance, and educational programs in support of sustainable water systems.
EPA says that it will work with tribes, Alaska Native Villages, other federal agencies, and partners on infrastructure needs and resources.