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U.S. EPA awards Hawaii over $20 million to improve water quality, protect public health

Release Date: 09/17/2012
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711, higuchi.dean@epa.gov

Hundreds of millions in funding provided to Department of Health since 1990

HONOLULU – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded the Hawaii Department of Health a $10,946,000 million grant for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and a $9,125,000 million grant for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund for water pollution control and drinking water infrastructure projects.

The Department of Health will use the funds to provide low-cost loans to the state’s counties for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure upgrades. In Hawaii, most of the infrastructure for wastewater treatment is along the coast and funding will assist in making improvements and adaptations to aging systems and those potentially impacted by rising sea levels from climate change.

“EPA is continuing its investment in Hawaii’s water infrastructure,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Our goal, along with the Department of Health, is ensure that Hawaii has safe, reliable drinking water and proper wastewater treatment.”

The EPA has awarded $282 million in federal funding for Hawaii’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund program from 1990 to the present. Every year, more funds become available as the principle, interest and fees are repaid to the program. Hawaii’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund reached $611 million last year, with a total of 74 wastewater treatment projects funded statewide totaling $509 million. The funds are used for a wide variety of water quality projects, including nonpoint source pollution control, watershed protection or restoration, improving water and energy efficiency, and traditional municipal wastewater treatment projects.

The Hawaii Drinking Water State Revolving Fund totals $192 million and the Hawaii Department of Health has issued 45 loans totaling $124 million. Funds to the program also support projects such as capacity development, sanitary surveys, drinking water operator training and technical assistance.

Forty years ago, when the federal Clean Water Act was made law, Congress charged a fledgling EPA with the goal of making the nation’s waters “fishable and swimmable.” Achieving this goal requires communities to make large investments in drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. The state revolving funds are EPA’s primary tools for helping communities meet their continuing and significant water infrastructure needs. Each state maintains revolving loan fund programs, capitalized by the EPA, to provide lowcost financing for water quality infrastructure projects.

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