SAN FRANCISCO, CA, May 21, 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 for the people in the State of California, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $440 million to California. 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.
"This remarkable opportunity to provide much-needed support for sustainable water and energy-efficient drinking water and wastewater systems throughout the U.S. is unprecedented," said Laura Yoshii, acting Regional Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the Pacific Southwest. "This funding will allow California to identify its highest infrastructure priorities, protect human health and surface water quality, address climate change, and create critical green jobs as a foundation for a sustainable future."
The Recovery Act funds will go to the state's Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds programs.
"The State Water Board identified these shovel-ready projects so we can both get people back to work and protect water quality," said Charlie Hoppin, Chair of the State Water Board. "Even in routine years, we handle a quarter-billion dollars in loans for these important purposes. This year, the need is more urgent and our staff started early to identify potential recipients so that we can distribute the federal money quickly and responsibly. California has a verified need and we have validated applications for more dollars than are currently available. We will put these additional funds to good use quickly and efficiently."
The State Water Resources Control Board's Clean Water State Revolving Fund program will receive $280 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 California Department of Public Health's Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program will receive $159 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.
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.