Penn. to invest $1.7M in water, sewer infrastructure

Marking Pennsylvania's continued commitment to maintaining the state's water and wastewater infrastructure, Governor Edward G. Rendell announced an investment of $1.7 million that will support communities' economy and quality of life. "Safe water for drinking, clean water for recreation, and reliable water service to power industry are essential to attracting new development, protecting the public's health, and creating a high quality of life for our citizens," said Governor Rendell...

HARRISBURG, PA, Jan. 23, 2008 -- Marking Pennsylvania's continued commitment to maintaining the state's water and wastewater infrastructure, Governor Edward G. Rendell today announced an investment of $1.7 million that will support communities' economy and quality of life.

"Safe water for drinking, clean water for recreation, and reliable water service to power industry are essential to attracting new development, protecting the public's health, and creating a high quality of life for our citizens," said Governor Rendell. "These investments help ensure the proper operation and maintenance of our water and sewer infrastructure and services, which is essential for Pennsylvania to accommodate future growth and development.

"As federal support continues to decline, these investments become even more critical in addressing the $8 billion gap in Pennsylvania's water and sewer infrastructure needs."

The Governor said the Clean Water State Revolving Fund is an example of declining federal dollars for the commonwealth.

The fund, which combines state and federal funds to upgrade aging infrastructure, has been a significant part of the commonwealth's water quality improvement efforts for two decades. In the last three years, though, the federal government has cut it by nearly half.

In 2004, $1.34 billion was available, compared to $886 million last year. Pennsylvania's share of the fund was cut by $30 million to $27 million.

"Steep cuts to federal programs, that have been a significant part of the commonwealth's water quality improvement efforts for two decades, jeopardize our ability to tackle the serious environmental and economic infrastructure challenges facing our communities," said Governor Rendell.

The $568,230 in sewage facilities enforcement grants announced today will help 188 municipalities enforce on-lot sewage system requirements. The grants reimburse local governments for costs associated with permitting these systems.

Another $1 million in sewage facilities planning grants was awarded to municipalities, counties and authorities to reimburse the costs associated with preparing and revising official plans that ensure the adequate operation and maintenance of sewage facilities.

The Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act, known as Act 537, requires municipalities--either individually or as members of multi-municipal sewage agencies--to enforce on-lot sewage system requirements. Requirements include evaluating and permitting new systems, properly repairing malfunctioning systems, and investigating complaints in a timely manner.

Act 537 authorizes DEP to reimburse local governments for up to 85 percent of the annual costs associated with enforcement and up to 50 percent of the cost associated with preparing a sewage facilities official plan.

These duties are carried out by sewage enforcement officers, who must pass a state-administered test in order to be certified by a state board, are responsible for making sure that new and repaired on-lot systems are properly sited, designed, permitted and inspected.

For more information on sewage facilities enforcement and planning grants, visit: www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: Act 537
To find out more about Governor Rendell's initiatives, see: www.governor.state.pa.us

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Also see:
-- Penn. to get $83M in water infrastructure investments

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