The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last month that it has awarded $187.3 million to more than 180 California for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure improvements throughout the state. These federal funds are to be supplemented with state funding sources to provide low-interest loans for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure projects. As money is repaid to the revolving loan fund, the state is able to fund new infrastructure projects.
“These funds will be used for 183 local projects that will boost the economy while improving water systems,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “(The) EPA is committed to investing in local infrastructure that will benefit the communities we serve.”
The recently awarded $187.3 million EPA funds will be jointly shared by the state’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) and California’s Clean Water programs. The EPA has awarded more than $5 billion to California’s Clean Water and Drinking Water SRF programs since their inception in 1988 and 1996, respectively. These funds support the state’s efforts to address an estimated $70.5 billion of water infrastructure needs.
“As we deal with an unprecedented demand for clean drinking water, the two State Revolving Fund programs will play a significant role in the State Water Board’s commitment to protect public health and water quality,” said California State Water Resources Control Board Division of Financial Assistance Deputy Director Leslie Laudon.
“The funds will address a variety of crucial needs, from upgrading and consolidating small, struggling water systems to recycling wastewater, recharging groundwater and replenishing drinking water supplies. Simply put, these funds help make California water safer, more accessible and sustainable as the state faces a variety of daunting challenges in the years ahead.”
Of the EPA’s recent award to California, the state’s Drinking Water SRF will receive more than $72.5 million for drinking water infrastructure improvements to public water systems. These include:
- The Indio Water Authority will consolidate two small local water systems serving disadvantaged communities into the Indio Water Authority to provide a reliable supply of water that meets drinking water standards.
- The South Tahoe Public Utilities District will install approximately 6,200 linear feet of new waterline and replace approximately 6,200 linear feet of waterline. The program will also include installation of fire hydrants, pressure regulating valves, air release valves, water services, meters, valve clusters, and paving, to provide reliable service to its customers.
More than $114.7 million of the EPA allocation will be used by California’s Clean Water SRF for a variety of water infrastructure improvement projects including:
- The East Valley Water District (based in Highland) and the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District will construct the Sterling Natural Resource Center from the ground up. The treatment plant will use the most advanced technology—a membrane bioreactor– to produce tertiary treated, recycled wastewater that meets all applicable requirements to recharge the Bunker Hill Groundwater Basin thereby ensuring local supplies of drinking water for the community.
- The City Of El Centro will upgrade its wastewater treatment plant’s high-speed aeration blowers. The aeration blowers are an integral part of the treatment process and updating them to efficient blowers will reduce the plant’s energy use by 34 percent annually and create significant savings.