Oct 26, 2018

Arizona Nonprofit Supports Drinking Water in Rural Community

$120,000 in funds will address drinking water and public health challenges

Arizona nonprofit supports rural drinking water systems
Arizona nonprofit supports rural drinking water systems

The U.S. EPA announced Southeast Arizona Area Health Education Center Inc. (SEAHEC), based in Nogales, Ariz., was awarded $120,000 to address drinking water and other public health challenges in a rural border-area community.

The funding is provided through EPA's Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving (EJCPS) program, which supports local organizations that develop community-driven solutions to address environmental and public health disparities in minority, low-income, tribal and indigenous communities. This year, EPA awarded $1.2 million to ten organizations around the country.

Funds from this grant will provide support for Winchester Heights in Cochise County, an unincorporated community where residents have been working with SEAHEC to improve public health. The project will support the newly established community center, assess drinking water quality and establish a Community Action Committee. The University of Arizona will provide two public health interns and a bilingual project coordinator to support the project.

“These funds will provide hands-on, in-home assistance to assess drinking water in rural Winchester Heights,”said Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “These visits can help reduce drinking-water related illnesses by addressing faulty pipes or installing simple disinfectant water filters.”

Nationally, projects selected this year reflect an emphasis on support for rural communities and watershed protection. The 2018 awards provide up to $120,000 per project for a two-year period. Special consideration was given to projects located in rural areas, with the goal of increasing outreach and capacity building in areas where such resources can be scarce. Eight of the 10 total projects awarded are in rural areas.