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EPA announces $53.099 million in water infrastructure grants for Arkansas

Phillips County residents fill gallon jugs as other employees distribute water on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024, in Helena-West Helena.
AP Photo
Karen Pulfer Focht
Phillips County residents fill gallon jugs as other employees distribute water on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024, in Helena-West Helena.

From Talk Business & Politics:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $53.099 million for Arkansas to implement drinking water and clean water infrastructure upgrades. The money is from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The money will be used to support essential water infrastructure that protects public health and treasured water bodies across the state. Almost half of this funding will be available as grants or principal forgiveness loans, ensuring funds reach underserved communities most in need of investments in water infrastructure.

“President Biden’s Investing in America agenda continues to transform communities for the better with this latest infusion of funds for critical water infrastructure projects,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement. “With $50 billion in total, the largest investment in water infrastructure in our nation’s history, EPA will enable communities across the nation to ensure safer drinking water for their residents and rebuild vital clean water infrastructure to protect public health for decades to come.”

According to the EPA many cities and towns have aging water infrastructure, including old, broken or lead pipes carrying drinking water and wastewater treatment plants, and need major upgrades.

The funding EPA announced for Arkansas is part of a $5.8 billion investment through the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRF), one of EPA’s signature water investment programs. This multi-billion-dollar investment will fund state-run, low-interest loan programs to address key challenges, with $2.6 billion going to the Clean Water SRF for wastewater and stormwater infrastructure and $3.2 billion going to the Drinking Water SRF for drinking water infrastructure nationwide.

Since 2022, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has injected $241.4 million into water infrastructure projects in Arkansas to protect public health, preserving water resources, and creating jobs.

Arkansas is one of twelve states participating in the Hypoxia Task Force (HTF) working to reduce the size of a hypoxic zone, an area with reduced oxygen levels, in the Gulf of Mexico. A portion of their Hypoxia Task Force funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, $500,000 will be used to reduce nutrients by constructing two-stage ditch floodplains in the Upper Cache River watershed. The outcome of this project will improve local water quality and downstream water quality in the Gulf of Mexico.

This story comes from the staff of Talk Business & Politics, a content partner with KUAR News. You can hear the weekly program on Mondays at 6:06 p.m.