Systems will receive training, technical assistance
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the award of $12.7 million in grants to help small drinking and wastewater systems and private well owners located in urban and rural communities throughout the U.S. and its territories. The water systems will receive training and technical assistance to improve small system operations and management practices, promote system sustainability and better protect public health and the environment.
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 and high staff turnover.
“Ensuring safe drinking water for all Americans, whether they live in a small town or a big city, is a priority for EPA, and these grants will help smaller systems in communities across the country,” said Joel Beauvais, deputy assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Water.
The selected grantees are:
- $4 million each to the National Rural Water Assn. (NRWA) and the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) to help small public water systems across the country achieve and maintain compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act;
- $1.8 million to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to improve the financial and managerial capabilities of small public water systems across the country;
- $1.2 million to NRWA to improve operational performance at small publicly owned wastewater systems and decentralized wastewater systems, thereby improving public health and water quality; and
- $1.7 million to RCAP to inform private drinking water well owners about protecting their drinking water supply and improving water quality.