Aug 12, 2021

Virginia Governor Announces Plans to Use American Rescue Plan Funds for Drinking Water Needs

$411.5 million investment in American Rescue Plan funds aim to improve drinking water among other water issues


Gov. Ralph Northam announced that Virginia plans to allocate $411.5 million in federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding to reduce water pollution and increase access to clean water across the Commonwealth. 

According to the Governor’s press release on his website, the proposal will tackle aging water systems and improve drinking water, wastewater, and storm water infrastructure. The $411.5 million is in addition to the $4.3 billion that Gov. Northam and the General Assembly aimed to allocate during a special session beginning Aug 2. 

“With this funding, we have a tremendous opportunity to rebuild our aging water systems and ensure every Virginia family has reliable access to safe, clean drinking water,” said Gov. Northam in the press release. “In addition to modernizing water and sewer infrastructure across the Commonwealth, these investments will go a long way towards restoring the health of our waterways and reducing pollution in our communities.”

The proposal includes: 

  • $186.5 million for wastewater treatment and nutrient removal;
  • $125 million for combined sewer overflow projects in Richmond, Alexandria, and Lynchburg; and
  • $100 million to assist water systems in small and disadvantaged communities.

These proposed investments supplement the approximate $304.5 million in federal ARPA funding to 190 towns in June. This is also in addition to $2.3 billion available to Virginia’s 133 counties and cities to meet needs including clean drinking water, wastewater and storm water infrastructure.  

“Protecting the environment, and particularly providing for sanitary disposal of wastewater, is critical to public health and the economy,” said Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources Matthew J. Strickler in the press release. “These investments will put us even closer to restoring the Chesapeake Bay, and will clean up streams and improve septic and sewer systems across the Commonwealth.”

The announcement was part of Investment Week, during which Gov. Ralph Northam and legislative leaders highlighted proposals for distributing the $4.3 billion in ARP funding available to the Commonwealth. The Aug. 2 special session was necessary to fill judicial vacancies and allocate more than $4.3 billion in federal relief funding. 

According to WFIR News, Virginia lawmakers gave final approval to the spending plan for $4.3 billion in federal coronavirus relief money.

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