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U.S. EPA AWARDS HAWAII $12.5 MILLION GRANT FOR DRINKING WATER SYSTEMS

Release Date: 12/19/1997
Contact Information: Dave Schmidt, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1578

     (San Francisco)--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) has awarded a $12.5 million grant to the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) for improvements to public drinking water systems. The funds will be made available through HDOH, which will provide low interest loans and other financial assistance to eligible public water systems.

     "We are pleased that this grant money will finance drinking water projects that protect the health of residents and visitors to Hawaii," said Alexis Strauss, water division director for U.S. EPA's western region.

     Bruce Anderson, Hawai'i Deputy Director for Environmental Health, adds, "EPA and DOH support of this loan program shows that government can not only set drinking water standards, but also help public water systems meet those standards."

       U.S. EPA's $12.5 million grant will enable HDOH start a revolving loan fund.  With the revolving fund in place, local public water systems can apply to HDOH for loans to finance specific projects.  When water systems begin repaying the loans, the HDOH can loan the money again to finance other drinking water projects.

     To receive the funds, HDOH must meet certain conditions.  The State must establish a loan fund and a program that complies with federal requirements, apply for the funds, and submit a list of projects for funding.  The HDOH can reapply on an annual basis for additional funding.  U.S. EPA's drinking water allotment for Hawaii for next year will be $7.1 million.    

     The funding is available under the 1996 amendments to the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.  This law  authorizes a Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DW-SRF) to help public water systems finance the costs of improvements needed to achieve or maintain compliance with federal and state drinking water requirements.  The DW-SRF also provides funding to the HDOH for management of the state drinking water program, source water protection efforts, and improvements to water system management.  A similar program, under the federal Clean Water Act, has funded construction of Hawaii's wastewater treatment facilities since September 1989.

     Information on the Hawaii Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program is available from the Hawaii Department of Health, Safe Drinking Water Branch, at (808) 586-4258.


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