Federal stimulus to fund clean water

The Hawaii Department of Health will receive $30,352,300 through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which provides low interest loans to local communities to build wastewater treatment facilities and other water pollution abatement projects. The federal fund was created in 1987, and was reauthorized by Congress in March to invest $13.8 billion in water quality projects over the next five years.

The funding was announced today by U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie.

“The Clean Water State Revolving Fund has been major source of funds to help Hawaii develop water and wastewater capacity.” Abercrombie said. “Right now, Kauai County needs to expand the Waimea Wastewater Plant, which can only take in 300,000 gallons. This is causing them to refuse some new sewer hookups because they’re at 90% capacity. Clean Water grants could help them expand that capacity.”

Another $19,500,000 is targeted to the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund for drinking water system improvements. This program also emphasizes funding for small and disadvantaged communities and to programs that encourage pollution prevention as a tool for ensuring safe drinking water.

“These grants address a public health issue across the country, but nowhere more urgent than in Honolulu. We’ve seen firsthand what happens when aging water and waster systems system can’t keep up with demand,” Abercrombie said.

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