PA Gov. lists over $50 million in new clean water funding to improve communities

Gov. Edward G. Rendell announced today a new $50 million environmental funding program that will further his vision for a cleaner, safer Pennsylvania that was the basis for his Growing Greener II initiative...

HARRISBURG, PA, Sept. 14, 2005 (PRNewswire) -- Gov. Edward G. Rendell announced today a new $50 million environmental funding program that will further his vision for a cleaner, safer Pennsylvania that was the basis for his Growing Greener II initiative.

"Clean water is something that many people take for granted," Governor Rendell said. "But streams contaminated by sewer overflow is a real problem for many of our cites and boroughs. Fixing this problem is a major financial burden facing these older, and in many cases economically distressed, communities. Getting raw sewage out of our streets and streams is fundamental for community quality of life.

"Providing clean water is critical for our communities and local residents, but it is also important to the success of companies looking to invest and grow in Pennsylvania."

The special program, which was adopted by the PENNVEST board of directors at its meeting today, will offer grant funds to be used for two critical water problems involving wastewater treatment plants - combined sewer overflows that cause stream contamination during heavy rains and excessive nitrogen and phosphorus emissions that are causing nutrient overloads in the Susquehanna and Potomac Rivers and downstream in the Chesapeake Bay.

Combined sewer overflows are the primary stream contamination problem facing Pennsylvania's older cities and boroughs, where sanitary and storm sewer systems were combined many years ago and now cannot handle the excessive flows of water that occur during heavy rains

Reducing nitrogen and phosphorus discharges from wastewater treatment plants is another financial burden that will be borne by existing wastewater treatment systems in the Chesapeake Bay watershed communities. Reducing these discharges is an important commitment that Pennsylvania has made under the agreement with its neighboring states to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its upstream water sources, such as the Susquehanna River. The federal Clean Water Act requires Pennsylvania to do its part to eliminate the dead zones in the Chesapeake Bay. The grant funding provided by this initiative will ease the financial burden to restore our streams and send cleaner water to the Chesapeake Bay. Beginning with the next application, which is due Sept. 28, owners and operators of wastewater treatment plants throughout the state can apply for these grant funds.

The applications for this special funding program will be collected and retained by PENNVEST until its March 2006 Board meeting, when all of these applications will be considered and the $50 million in grant funds will be awarded. For more information, see: www.pennvest.state.pa.us.

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In related news, see: PENNVEST Approves $62 Million for Water Projects -- HARRISBURG, PA, Sept. 14, 2005 (PRNewswire) -- PENNVEST's board of directors today approved nearly $57.9 million in low-interest loans and almost $3.7 million in grants to fund 11 drinking water and wastewater projects in 11 counties across the commonwealth. The funding ranges from $270,300 to eliminate use of contaminated drinking water wells in Monroe County, to $25 million to expand capacity of a wastewater treatment plant in Montgomery County, allow for business expansion and create of over 1,000 new jobs. The funding for today's projects brings PENNVEST's total funding for community water, sewer and storm water projects to more than $3.9 billion since the program's inception. A full list of the projects follows...

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