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EPA Announces $25 Million to Improve Water Quality, Infrastructure in Arizona

Release Date: 10/09/2014
Contact Information: Margot Perez-Sullivan, perezsullivan.margot@epa.gov

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $25 million in funding to invest in Arizona for statewide improvements in local water infrastructure and the reduction of water pollution.

“In an arid environment, water is the most precious natural resource and we are working with our state and city partners to protect it,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “This funding will help create construction jobs, develop infrastructure and conserve water and energy as Arizona adapts to climate change.”

The funds are directed to the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona, which will use them to provide low-cost loans for safe drinking water projects and wastewater infrastructure improvements. WIFA’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund provides financing for municipal wastewater treatment projects, and its Drinking Water Revolving Fund provides financial assistance for drinking water infrastructure systems.

WIFA anticipates allocating a portion of this year’s funds for projects like the planned upgrade to Show Low’s wastewater treatment ponds that will replace the current ponds with an advanced aeration and sludge treatment facility designed to meet federal and state standards. In the town of Monte Vista, the state hopes to fund a drinking water system upgrade that would reduce the level of naturally-occurring arsenic to meet the new standards for water supplies.

Recent projects using revolving fund loans include Douglas’ solar-powered wastewater treatment system, installed to cut energy costs -- half of the facility’s annual energy needs are expected to be generated by solar. In Clarkdale, instead of building a costly new plant, the town purchased and refurbished a decommissioned wastewater treatment plant. Oro Valley installed advanced water meters to detect leaks, encourage conservation, and eliminate labor-intensive manual meter reading.

EPA has awarded over $585 million in federal funding for Arizona’s clean water and drinking water revolving funds since the inception of the programs in 1988. The funds are used for a wide variety of water quality projects including watershed protection and restoration, water and energy efficiency, wastewater reclamation, and traditional municipal wastewater treatment systems including nonpoint source pollution control. The funds also support drinking water infrastructure, as well as drinking water plant operator training, and technical assistance.

The EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region administers and enforces federal environmental laws in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands and 148 tribal nations -- home to more than 48 million people.

For more information on EPA Region 9’s State Revolving Fund program, visit: http://www.epa.gov/region9/water/grants/srf-loan-prog.html