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EPA Announces over $50.1 million in Recovery Act Funds for Water Projects in Hawaii 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

For Immediate Release: May 18, 2009
Contact: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711, higuchi.dean@epa.gov


EPA Announces over $50.1 million in Recovery Act Funds for Water Projects in Hawaii to Boost Economy, Create Jobs and Protect Public Health

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 $50,158,900 to the State of Hawaii. 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 Hawaii to fund some of its highest 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 Clean Water State Revolving Fund program will receive $ 30,352,300. It provides low-interest loans for water quality protection projects for wastewater treatment, non-point source pollution control, and watershed and estuary management. The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program will receive $19,500,000. It provides low-interest loans for drinking water systems to finance infrastructure improvements. The program also emphasizes providing funds to small and disadvantaged communities and to programs that encourage pollution prevention as a tool for ensuring safe drinking water.

EPA is also awarding $306,600 in Recovery Act funds for Water Quality Management Planning (WQMP) in Hawaii. Planning is an important step in EPA’s goal to improve water quality in America’s lakes, rivers and streams. WQMP grants support a broad range of activities, such as setting standards, monitoring the quality of the water, developing plans to restore polluted waters, and identifying ways to protect healthy waters from becoming polluted. States are also encouraged to use these funds for more innovative planning activities, such as developing plans to adapt to climate change, analyzing trends in water availability and use, and creating low-impact development programs. Grants are awarded to state agencies and some of the funds can be awarded to regional and interstate planning organizations.

“Hawaii looks forward to receiving the funds and putting them to work as fast as possible to help both the environment and the economy,” said Laurence Lau, Deputy Director for Environmental Health of the Hawaii Department of Health. “We appreciate and commend our partners for all the teamwork and progress so far. Help and guidance from EPA has accelerated the funding. The counties’ have proposed projects that meet the green requirements of the Recovery Act and will actually have to spend tens of millions of dollars for new construction on a very tight schedule. The State Legislature has advanced bills to give us needed legal authority to use the Recovery Act funds. My staff has been outstanding.”

An unprecedented $6 billion dollars will be awarded nationally 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.

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