Funds will help drinking water and wastewater treatment systems meet federal and state regulations
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded nearly $15 million in funding to provide training and technical assistance to small drinking and wastewater systems – those serving fewer than 10,000 people – and to private well owners. The funding will help provide training and tools to improve small system operations and management practices, promoting sustainability and supporting EPA’s mission to protect public health and the environment.
“Small systems form the backbone of our nation’s public water system, and it is a priority for EPA to help them to meet water quality standards and provide clean water to communities,” said Nancy Stoner, acting assistant administrator for water for EPA. “This funding and technical assistance is part of EPA’s continuing efforts to promote sustainability and public health protection for communities served by small systems.”
EPA awards include:
- Nearly $7 million to the National Rural Water Assn. and nearly $3 million to the Texas Engineering Extension Service, which together will provide training and technical assistance for small public water systems across the country to achieve and maintain compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act;
- $2.5 million to the New Mexico Environmental Finance Center to help small systems improve their financial and managerial capabilities, which will enable these systems to effectively provide safe drinking water over the long term;
- $2 million to the Rural Community Assistance Partnership to work with small publicly owned wastewater systems on treatment and operations issues and to help private well owners;
- $500,000 to the Rural Community Assistance Partnership to provide training and technical assistance to tribally owned and operated public water systems.
More than 97% of the nation’s 157,000 public water systems serve fewer than 10,000 people, and more than 80% of these systems serve fewer than 500 people. Many small systems face unique challenges in providing reliable drinking water and wastewater services that meet federal and state regulations. These challenges can include a lack of financial resources, aging infrastructure, management limitations and high staff turnover.