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EPA Awards $300 Million in Federal Funding for California Infrastructure Improvements

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced nearly $300 million in federal funding to improve aging water and wastewater infrastructure and protect human health and the environment in California.

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This new infusion of money through infrastructure capitalization grants will help state and local governments finance many of the overdue improvements to water projects that are essential to protecting public health and the environment throughout California, according to the EPA.

The EPA has awarded $127 million to the California Department of Public Health for drinking water infrastructure projects and $147 million to the State Water Resources Control Board for wastewater projects.

The funding will update sewage and water treatment facilities and support drinking water projects in Northern, Central and Southern California. At least 20% of the funds provided are to be used for green infrastructure, water and energy efficiency improvements, and other environmentally innovative projects.

The following California municipalities are currently pursuing a funding agreement, pending a technical, environmental and/or financial review: Fresno, Klamath, Tehachapi, Merced, Sonoma, Monterey, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Stockton, Shasta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Redding, Yucaipa, Castro Valley, Seal Beach, Santa Cruz, Turlock, Seal Beach, San Clemente, Alameda, Solano, Brea, Mendocino, Salinas, East Palo Alto, Sacramento, Oakland, Modesto, Thousand Oaks, Vacaville, Fontana, Arvin, Banning, Atwater, Sausalito, Orange County, San Leandro, Beverly Hills, Pismo Beach, La Puente, San Luis Obispo, San Leandro, Morro Bay, Hollywood and many others.

The funding will be distributed by the Water Resources Control Board and the California Department of Public Health. The funds will provide low-interest loans and principal forgiveness loans for water quality protection projects for wastewater treatment, non-point source pollution control, and watershed and estuary management. They will also provide low-interest loans or principal forgiveness loans for drinking water systems in order to finance infrastructure improvements. The programs emphasize funding for small and disadvantaged communities and encourage pollution prevention as a tool for ensuring safe drinking water.

Over the past year, the California State Revolving Fund Program has funded a wide variety of water quality improvement projects.

In Northern California, the city of Oakland’s Rainwater Harvesting Program has received $1.3 million in state revolving funds. The program provide incentives, training, and rain barrels to allow residents to re-use rainwater for irrigation purposes and to mitigate stormwater impacts to local and regional water resources.

In Contra Costa County, the Ironhouse Sanitary District Waste Water Treatment plant expansion project has received $51.9 million in funds to replace the district’s outdated secondary wastewater treatment facility with a new tertiary facility. Treated effluent will be reused for agricultural purposes to the maximum extent possible.

In Southern California, the city of Redondo Beach’s Alta Vista park diversion and re-use project has received $2.2 million. The project will divert, treat and reuse runoff from a 101-acre watershed that discharges into Santa Monica Bay just south of the Redondo Beach Pier.

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