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EPA Announces over $4 million in Recovery Act Funds for Water Projects in American Samoa to Boost Economy, Create Jobs and Protect Public Health

Release Date: 05/18/2009
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711, higuchi.dean@epa.gov

(05/18/09) HONOLULU - In a move that stands to create jobs, boost local economies, improve aging water and wastewater infrastructure and protect human health and the environment, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $4,037,000 to American Samoa. This new infusion of money provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will help the state and local governments finance many of the overdue improvements to water projects that are essential to protecting public health and the environment across the state.

"This remarkable opportunity to provide much-needed support for sustainable water and energy-efficient drinking water and wastewater systems throughout the U.S. is unprecedented," said Laura Yoshii, acting Regional Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the Pacific Southwest. "This funding will allow American Samoa to identify its highest water infrastructure priorities, protect human health and surface water quality, address climate change, and create critical green jobs as a foundation for a sustainable future."

The American Samoa Power Authority will receive $3,354,000 for its wastewater construction program. The EPA grant provides funding for water quality protection projects for wastewater treatment, non-point source pollution control, and watershed and estuary management. ASPA also will receive $483,000 to improve American Samoa's drinking water system. The award also emphasizes programs that encourage pollution prevention as a tool for ensuring safe drinking water

An unprecedented $6 billion dollars will be awarded to fund water and wastewater infrastructure projects across the country under the Recovery Act in the form of low-interest loans, principal forgiveness and grants. At least 20% of the funds provided under the Recovery Act are to be used for green infrastructure, water and energy efficiency improvements and other environmentally innovative projects.

"We are pleased that EPA recognizes the challenges and the need for the territory to continuously upgrade water and wastewater infrastructure for the benefit of the residents," said ASPA Chief Executive Officer Michael Keyser. "This new funding will help reduce our water losses, which reach upwards of 50 percent, extend wastewater services to villages with substandard septic systems, and simultaneously allow us to implement green infrastructure projects that will support and strengthen our ongoing work in protecting the health of our residents. The ASPA-EPA partnership has always been strong, and once again they step in to provide an additional boost at a time when we need it most.”

President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on February 17, 2009, and has directed that the Recovery Act be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability. To that end, the American people can see how every dollar is being invested at Recovery.gov.

Information on EPA’s implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 visit http://www.epa.gov/recovery

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