EPA awards $8 million to West Virginia for drinking water projects

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $8 million to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources to improve drinking water systems and protect drinking water supplies.

PHILADELPHIA, Pa., Oct. 28, 2003 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $8 million to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources to improve drinking water systems and protect drinking water supplies. The state will contribute $2.4 million in matching funds.

"Maintaining a safe drinking water supply is a top priority for communities throughout our county. This grant will help ensure that public drinking water supplies in West Virginia remain safe and affordable, and that drinking water systems are properly operated and maintained," said Donald S. Welsh, regional administrator for EPA's mid-Atlantic region.

About $7.1 million of the funding will be used for low-interest loans which communities can use to fund improvements to drinking water systems that could include upgrading treatment plants, replacing storage tanks, consolidating inadequate facilities, replacing distribution lines, improving pumping stations, and constructing wells and transmission mains.

Additionally, the West Virginia Department of Health will use about $3.3 million of the funding to manage the loan program, to provide technical assistance to small water systems, to expand operator training and certification programs, to protect drinking water supplies from contamination and to ensure that drinking water systems remain viable. The state selects projects based on environmental, public health and technical merit.

The EPA grant is from the drinking water state revolving fund authorized by the 1996
amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act. The program emphasizes preventing contamination through source water protection and enhanced water systems management. As communities repay their loans, the funds are available for new projects in West Virginia.


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