Jul 09, 2009

American Indian Communities Awarded $90 Million for Water Services

Projects exceed requirement that 20% of funds be used for “green” improvements

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s (HHS) Indian Health Service (IHS) recently announced $90 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for improved access to vital drinking water and wastewater services in the American Indian and Alaska Native communities. The funds will be invested in “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects designed to better protect human and environmental health in Indian Country and to create jobs.

“This investment is win-win. Addressing long-standing water issues in tribal communities is also going to bring in new jobs and new opportunities—helping them get through the economic downturn and build a lasting foundation for prosperity,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “EPA is committed to working with our tribal partners on solutions that benefit our environment, our health, and our economy.”

“This generous recovery act funding will make communities in Indian Country safer, healthier and stronger,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. “Everyone should have safe drinking water and sanitation facilities and we’re committed to improving the quality of life in Indian Country.”

Continuing a tradition spanning 20 years, EPA and IHS’s combined effort to improve water services in Indian Country contributed to their identification of 95 wastewater and 64 drinking water priority projects to be completed by IHS’s Sanitation Facilities Construction Program through EPA recovery act funds. The projects exceed the recovery act requirement that 20% of the funds be used for green infrastructure, water and energy efficiency improvements and other environmentally innovative projects.