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Town of Fairhaven, Mass. Receives $7.9 Million in Recovery Act Funding to Improve Green Infrastructure

Release Date: 03/08/2010
Contact Information: Paula Ballentine, (617) 918-1027

(Boston, Mass. - March 8, 2010) Today, EPA Deputy Regional Administrator Ira Leighton along with state and local officials and the town of Fairhaven broke ground on a wastewater treatment facility in Fairhaven, Mass. The wastewater infrastructure project, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), is helping create green jobs, boost the local economy, improve aging water infrastructure and protect human health and the environment.

The Town of Fairhaven was awarded $7.9 M in a principle forgiveness loan through the ARRA and MA DEP/SRF Green Infrastructure Reserve to implement several renewable energy projects at their wastewater treatment facility (WWTF). The funding will go towards a renewable, biogas/anaerobic digestion fueled combined heat and power system and three solar photovoltaic rooftop panels. Additionally, the Town is working with a private entity to add a wind turbine facility to their growing renewable energy portfolio.

“This Recovery project not only improves energy efficiency, water reuse and conservation—it is a long term investment in the community,” said EPA Deputy Regional Administrator, Ira Leighton. “Clean, safe water is one of the bedrock foundations of communities and an economy that can grow and thrive. This money is an important start to upgrade our aging infrastructure, while creating well-paid, ‘green’ jobs.”

The largest portion of Fairhaven funding is going to the Biogas/Anaerobic Digestion with Combined Heat and Power (Cogeneration) Facility. Although utilized for many decades, this will be the second wastewater facility in the state to generate energy by converting sewerage sludge to biogas, and burning it to create electricity and heat. It saves communities money both by offsetting electricity use and greatly reducing sludge disposal costs.

“Fairhaven’s green infrastructure projects have put it on the leading-edge of the Commonwealth’s renewable energy revolution,” MassDEP Commissioner Laurie Burt said. “The $7.9 million in SRF/ARRA Green Infrastructure funding will cover the cost of installing solar panels and anaerobic digester technology at the treatment plant, saving thousands of dollars in energy costs, reducing the community’s carbon footprint, and putting people back to work.”

The Green Reserve project will save the town $300,000 per year in electricity costs and offset about 1,800 tons per year of CO2 emissions—the equivalent of over 7,000,000 miles of travel in a car. Additionally, the wind turbine project will contribute another $165,000 in electricity savings and offset an additional 6,000 tons of CO2.

“The Town of Fairhaven is excited to receive this federal stimulus money that will in the short term, stimulate the local economy and create new jobs,” said Brian K. Bowcock, Chair of the Fairhaven Board of Selectmen. “In the long term this project will improve the town's infrastructure and save tens of thousands of dollars in waste disposal.”

A little over one year ago, an unprecedented $4 billion dollars will be awarded to fund wastewater infrastructure projects across the country under the Recovery Act in the form of low interest loans, principal forgiveness and grants. At least 20 percent 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.

Since the Clean Water State Revolving Fund program began in 1987, EPA has awarded more than $26 billion in grants, which states have turned into $69 billion of financial assistance for water quality projects. The revolving nature of the program ensures water quality projects will be funded for generations to come.

President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Feb. 17, and has directed 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
www.Recovery.gov.

More information:

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National info on Recovery Act (www.Recovery.gov)

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Recovery Act helping New England's environment (www.epa.gov/region1/eparecovery)

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