No community or region can revitalize—or become resilient—if it lacks a reliable supply of clean, fresh water.
On March 31, 2023, underserved communities in six New England states celebrated major new funding to renovate their decrepit wastewater and stormwater systems.
That was when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $57,253,000 from the 2023 Consolidated Appropriations Act for states, Tribes, and territories through this year’s Clean Water State Revolving Funds (CWSRF) in the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
“Improving and upgrading our water infrastructure betters the livelihood of Connecticut’s families,” said Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-3). “The Bipartisan Infrastructure and Investment and Jobs Act continues to deliver transformative investments in wastewater and stormwater infrastructure, upgrades essential water mechanisms, protects the environment, and most importantly – safeguards drinking water. I am proud to see this funding help Connecticut with critical projects, create jobs, and build our regional economy.”
The funding will help communities upgrade essential wastewater and stormwater systems to protect public health and treasured water bodies across the nation.
“Too many communities across the country are facing challenges with water infrastructure – from climate impacts like drought vulnerability, to a lack of basic wastewater services that everyone deserves,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda is getting unprecedented investments in clean water to communities that need them most. This funding paired with this historic funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will support local economies while advancing projects in communities to help ensure clean, safe water for residents.”
“For too long, Big Polluters have been empowered to endanger the lives of our families and our communities,” said U.S. Congressman James P. McGovern (MA-2). “Today’s funding gives cities, towns, and organizations in Massachusetts the tools they need to properly treat wastewater, create green infrastructure projects, and tackle the most burdensome and expensive water-related projects. I’m grateful to the Biden-Harris Administration for leaving no one behind and continuing to invest in a cleaner, healthier future.”
Specifically, EPA announced the following:
- Connecticut will receive $9,282,000
- Maine will receive $5,865,000
- Massachusetts will receive $25,726,000
- New Hampshire will receive $7,572,000
- Rhode Island will receive $5,088,000
- Vermont will receive $3,720,000
Administrator Regan announced the funding as part of a $775 million investment on the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America tour in Clayton, North Carolina with Congressman Wiley Nickel, highlighting the President’s historic funding for water infrastructure upgrades.
“Clean rivers, lakes and streams are fundamental to the health and wellness of all Granite State communities. That should be a right, not a privilege. I’m thrilled to see federal dollars I worked to secure head to New Hampshire to uphold that standard by supporting local water infrastructure projects,” said U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen. “In addition to health benefits, investments in water infrastructure bring about new opportunities for economic growth and job creation. I’ll continue advocating for resources to develop and strengthen New Hampshire’s water and wastewater infrastructure.”
President Biden’s Investing in America agenda aims to grow the American economy from the bottom up and middle-out – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, to creating a manufacturing and innovation boom powered by good-paying jobs that don’t require a four-year degree, to building a clean-energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient.
This announcement builds on the second wave of $2.4 billion EPA announced for clean water infrastructure upgrades through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in February. Over $3.2 billion will be provided to the CWSRF when combined with Fiscal Year 2023 funding available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
“As the effects of climate change get more intense with each passing year, investments in water infrastructure are increasingly important,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “This federal funding will help upgrade wastewater and stormwater infrastructure across Rhode Island to protect public health and the quality of Narragansett Bay, and create good jobs in the process.”
This investment reflects the Biden Administration’s commitment to strengthening the nation’s wastewater and stormwater systems, while providing significant resources for mitigating nonpoint source pollution and improving energy and water efficiency. It also addresses key challenges, including climate change and emerging contaminants like per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
Back in February, EPA announced funding made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act to New England states for clean water infrastructure upgrades in he following amounts: Connecticut: $28,424,000; Maine: $17,961,000; Massachusetts: $78,777,000; New Hampshire: $23,186,000; Rhode Island: $15,579,000; Vermont: $11,390,000.
The CWSRFs have been the foundation of water infrastructure investments for more than 30 years, providing low-cost financing for local projects across America. Under the Clean Water programs, EPA provides funding to all 50 states and Puerto Rico to capitalize on SRF loan programs. For the base programs, the states and Puerto Rico contribute an additional 20 percent to match the federal grants.
“These federal dollars will ensure that Rhode Island’s water infrastructure remains strong and dependable for years to come, which will improve public health and create good-paying jobs in our state,” said U.S. Representative Seth Magaziner. “Clean water is absolutely vital for the Ocean State and all Rhode Islanders, so I’m proud to announce this critical investment.”
The 51 SRF programs function like infrastructure banks by providing low-interest loans to eligible recipients for clean water infrastructure projects. As the loan principal and interest are repaid over time, it allows the state’s CWSRF to be recycled or “revolve.”
As money is returned to the state’s revolving loan fund, the state makes new loans to other eligible recipients. These funds can also be combined with Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding and EPA’s Water Infrastructure and Finance Innovation Act (WIFIA) loans to create a powerful, innovative financing solution for major infrastructure projects.
Photo by Beautiful-Moments from Pixabay.