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Standing at the site of a new drinking water treatment plant being built in Pawtucket, R.I., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has awarded $16.9 million to the state of Rhode Island for its Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) Programs.
Rhode Island will use $8 million to support various drinking water programs within the state and make low-interest loans to public and private community water systems to improve their facilities. The new water plant in Pawtucket is among the projects that will benefit from the new funds. The remaining $8.9 million money will also be used to support wastewater treatment plant improvements around the state.
Both of the grants were awarded to the RI Clean Water Finance Agency, which will distribute the funds with assistance from the RI Department of Health and the RI Department of Environmental Management.
"This funding will help Pawtucket and many other Rhode Island communities carry out important projects to make their drinking water supplies safer and wastewater treatment discharges cleaner," said Ira Leighton, deputy regional administrator of EPA's New England Office.
"I'm very pleased that the EPA has awarded $16.9 million to Rhode Island to help us enhance our state’s water quality," added Governor Carcieri. "These funds will go a long way in ensuring that Narragansett Bay is clean and our drinking water is safe. The funds will also help our local cities and towns improve wastewater infrastructure and combat pollution."
For New England, with its aging infrastructure, the program funding sewer system upgrades is especially significant. Across the six New England states, SRF and earlier construction grants have allowed municipalities with antiquated systems to make the kind of improvements that pave the way for economic development and promote smart growth policies. By promoting growth in urban centers and pre-existing buildings, the system upgrades have played an important role in protecting the region’s natural resources while also providing cleaner water.