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UTAH — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Tuesday that Utah would be receiving $62,283,000 to make improvements to drinking water infrastructure.
These funds are being allocated through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). The investment is made possible by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which allows the EPA to increase investments in water infrastructure around the country.
The first wave of investments will be allocated and used for subsidies and loan forgiveness for disadvantaged communities near Spanish Fork and Cedar City. The goal is to help these communities make upgrades to their privately owned water supply systems.
“Every community deserves access to safe, clean drinking water,” said Michael S. Regan, an EPA administrator. “Thanks to President Biden’s historic infrastructure investments in America, we have an unprecedented opportunity to revitalize America’s drinking water systems, support the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of removing 100% of lead pipes across our country, and protect communities from PFAS pollution.”
Climate change, cyber security, and the rise of new contaminants such as per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are some of the reasons behind the push to upgrade water infrastructure. The 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act set the requirement for an assessment of the country’s infrastructure to be carried out every four years. The current assessment says that $625 billion worth of investments are needed over the next 20 years to maintain the nation’s health, security, and economic well-being.
“EPA is committed to protecting the health of all Utahns by ensuring the water flowing into their taps is reliably safe long into the future,” said KC Becker, an EPA regional administrator. “This funding is an invaluable investment in public and environmental health.”
Over $50 billion in water and wastewater infrastructure improvements will be funded between FY 2022 and FY 2026, thanks to the funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. $6 billion, which is available to states, Tribes, and territories through the DWSRF in the now second year of the Law.
The Law will also invest $3 billion into lead service line identifications and improvements, $800 million to address PFAS and other emerging containments, and 2.2 billion will be invested in other drinking water infrastructure projects. There is also around $500 million available through the DWSRF annual appropriations established by the Safe Drinking Water Act.