The following is a transcript of the WaterWorld Weekly Newscast for January 16, 2016.
Hi, I'm Angela Godwin for WaterWorld magazine, bringing you water and wastewater news headlines for the week of January 16th. Coming up...
WIFIA program loans now available
U.S. veterans exposed to VOC-tainted water at Camp LeJeune to get benefits
Officials say Flint water showing improvement
Collaborative releases lead service line replacement roadmap
Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it is now accepting Letters of Intent for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act -- or WIFIA -- program.
WIFIA offers a resource of approximately $1 billion in long-term, low-cost credit assistance through direct loans and loan guarantees to creditworthy water infrastructure projects.
It complements the State Revolving Funds and bond market by providing another option for financing large infrastructure projects, generally at least $20 million.
WIFIA is available to state, local, and tribal governments; private entities; partnerships; and State Revolving Fund programs.
Letters of Intent are currently being accepted through April 10. If there are remaining funds, a second round will begin on August 10.
For additional information, including the WIFIA program handbook and application materials, please visit epa.gov/wifia.
Military veterans who were exposed to drinking water contamination while serving at Camp LeJeune between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987, are eligible for supplemental disability benefits, according to an official noticed published in the Federal Register last week.
Benefit payouts will begin in March.
To be eligible, individuals must have served at the base for a minimum of 30 cumulative days and have been diagnosed with one of eight medical conditions.
They are kidney, liver, or bladder cancer; non-Hodgkin's lymphoma; adult leukemia; multiple myeloma; Parkinson's disease; and aplastic anemia
Officials estimate that nearly 1 million service members were potentially affected by the contaminated groundwater.
Leaking underground storage tanks and nearby dry-cleaning facilities have been identified as likely causes of the contamination.
The added benefits are expected to cost taxpayers $2.2 billion over five years.
At a town hall meeting last week in Flint, MI, state and local officials told residents that recent testing indicates lead levels are decreasing and chlorine residuals are "excellent."
Officials were quick to note that the water crisis is not over, despite the improvements.
Residents were advised to continue using filters and bottled water distribution will continue.
A coalition of environmental, health, consumer and water utility groups have joined forces to help communities with their initiatives to replace lead service lines.
The Lead Service Line Replacement Collaborative comprises 23 organizations, including the American Water Works Association, the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, the National Association of Water Companies, the Environmental Defense Fund, and many others.
Its mission is to aid communities in the development and implementation of voluntary programs to eliminate lead water pipes.
Last week, the Collaborative released an online toolkit that includes a roadmap for getting started; suggested replacement practices to identify and remove lead service lines; policies that federal and state leaders could adopt to support local efforts; and additional resources.
To learn more, please visit lslr-collaborative.org.
For WaterWorld magazine, I'm Angela Godwin. Thanks for watching.