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EPA awards $26 million to Arizona for water quality, public health

SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority (WIFA) of Arizona a $9 million grant for its Clean Water State Revolving Fund and a nearly $17 million grant for its Drinking Water State Revolving Fund for water pollution control and drinking water infrastructure projects.

“In the last 26 years, EPA has provided over $560 million in funding for Arizona water projects” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Without this investment at the federal level, many communities would not be able to satisfy Arizonans’ basic needs for clean, safe drinking water and proper wastewater treatment.”

WIFA will use the funds to provide low-cost loans for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure upgrades. WIFA’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) provides financing for municipal wastewater treatment projects, while its Drinking Water SRF provides financial assistance for supporting drinking water infrastructure systems.

Projects previously funded using SRF loans include a water reclamation expansion for the City of Casa Grande which now produces A+ quality water for reuse, as well as a water line replacement plan for Mt. Lemmon, a town devastated after losing 75% of its rate base as a result of the 2003 Aspen Fire.

EPA has awarded $250 million in federal funding for Arizona’s Clean Water SRF since inception of the program. WIFA increases the investment in Arizona by leveraging the federal dollars on the bond market. The funds are used for a wide variety of water quality projects, including nonpoint source pollution control, watershed protection or restoration, water and energy efficiency projects, wastewater reclamation, and traditional municipal wastewater treatment projects. Arizona’s Drinking Water SRF has received $310 million in federal funding to date. Funds to the program support drinking water infrastructure, programs such as drinking water plant operator training, and technical assistance.

Forty years ago, when the federal Clean Water Act was enacted, Congress charged EPA with the goal of making the nation’s waters “fishable and swimmable.” Through the state revolving funds, EPA helps communities fund continuing and significant water infrastructure needs. Each state maintains revolving loan fund programs, capitalized by the EPA, to provide low-cost financing for water quality infrastructure projects.

For more information on EPA Region 9’s State Revolving Fund program, visit www.epa.gov/region9/water/grants/srf-loan-prog.html.