WASHINGTON, DC – About $15.5 million in Federal clean water financing is flowing to Rhode Island thanks to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (P.L. 117-58) championed by U.S. Senator Jack Reed.
Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, prioritized $11.7 billion in funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF), plus an additional $1 billion for the CWSRF for emerging contaminants, in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which President Biden signed in 2021. Overall, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law authorized $55 billion — subject to annual appropriations — in US water systems. This is the largest federal investment ever in America’s water infrastructure.
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which administers the CWSRF program to states, released $2.4 billion, resulting in an allocation of $15.5 million in CWSRF funds for the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM).
“Clean water is essential for public health and the health of our economy and environment. That is why I championed strong federal funding in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to accelerate water infrastructure improvements, reduce pollution, and protect public health. These funds will help Rhode Island ensure healthy, safe water in communities throughout the state,” said Reed. “This influx of federal clean water funding should lead to an outpouring of infrastructure investments, such as wastewater treatment plant upgrades. Rhode Island communities can leverage this federal assistance for clean water infrastructure improvement projects that reduce potential risks to public health and the environment.”
The CWSRF program is a federal-state partnership that provides communities nationwide with low-cost financing for a wide range of water quality infrastructure projects. Rhode Island’s CWSRF program is co-managed by the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank (RIIB) and DEM’s Office of Water Resources. Rhode Island communities can utilize this federal funding to finance essential clean water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure upgrades that protect public health and treasured water bodies. Examples of eligible projects include:
- Wastewater infrastructure, including projects related to sewers, pump stations, and treatment facilities.
- Combined sewer overflow abatement.
- Community on-site wastewater treatment system repair programs.
- Stormwater mitigation projects, particularly Green Stormwater Infrastructure.
- Capital equipment necessary to maintain Green Stormwater Infrastructure.
- Riverbank and estuarine restoration projects (including wetland, floodplain, riparian buffer, and salt marsh restoration).
- Landfill closures.
- Alternative energy and energy efficiency projects that benefit a water pollution treatment facility.
- Projects that make wastewater infrastructure more resilient to the effects of climate change.
- Planning and design for stormwater or wastewater capital projects.
- Open space acquisitions with a water quality nexus are eligible for financing
DEM and RIIB have established a process for accepting applications to loan or grant money for clean water system improvements around the state. The agencies maintain a Project Priority List (PPL) that is prepared annually as a ranking of a wide range of water pollution abatement projects proposed by municipalities and other eligible persons.
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