Infusion to help finance overdue water projects
In a move that stands to create jobs, boost local economies, improve aging water infrastructure and protect human health and the environment for the people in the state of Iowa, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $24,293,000 to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.This new infusion of money provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 will help the state and local governments finance many of the overdue improvements to water projects that are essential to protecting public health and the environment across the state."The recovery act investments are meeting urgent needs for economic growth and protecting human health and the environment," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "Communities across the nation can count on 'green' jobs to help pull them out of this downturn and ensure the long-term strength of our economy and our environment.""Iowa needs this funding to fix aging infrastructure in both urban and rural communities," said William Rice, acting regional administrator. "Clean drinking water is essential for healthy communities and healthy local economies. These funds will bring about needed repairs, focus on green solutions and provide good-paying jobs."The ARRA funds will go to the state's Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program, which provides low-interest loans for drinking water systems to finance infrastructure improvements. The program also emphasizes providing funds to small and disadvantaged communities and to programs that encourage pollution prevention as a tool for ensuring safe drinking water. An unprecedented $2 billion will be awarded to fund drinking water infrastructure projects across the country under the ARRA in the form of low-interest loans, principal forgiveness and grants. At least 20 percent of the funds provided under the act are to be used for green infrastructure, water and energy-efficiency improvements and other environmentally innovative projects.