DALLAS, TEXAS (Nov. 29th, 2022) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced more than $105 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) funding to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, Oklahoma Water Resources Board for water infrastructure improvements.
At an event this afternoon at the state capitol in Oklahoma City, EPA Regional Administrator Dr. Earthea Nance presented a ceremonial check to Secretary of Energy and Environment Ken McQueen, who accepted on behalf of all recipients.
The grants are part of the nationwide distribution of water infrastructure funds following the passage of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The BIL allocates more than $50 billion toward repairing the nation’s essential water infrastructure, in turn helping communities access clean, safe, and reliable drinking water, prevent flooding, collect and treat wastewater to protect public health, and safeguard vital waterways.
“Maintaining water quality infrastructure must continue to remain a high priority among states,” said Regional Administrator Dr. Earthea Nance. “We are pleased to see Oklahoma ensure public health by using these funds to improve upon water quality standards. EPA remains committed to working with state partners to safeguard public health and the environment.”
“We are delighted to partner with EPA Region 6 on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). Our highly experienced Oklahoma water professionals at Department of Environmental Quality and Water Resources Board aggressively pursued all of these grant opportunities, which resulted in over one-hundred million dollars of additional funding for communities across Oklahoma,” said Ken McQueen, Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Environment. “These grants will provide much needed assistance in reducing nitrates and manganese from drinking water supplies, as well as providing targeted loan forgiveness in communities needing additional funding assistance.”
“The investment in Oklahoma’s water infrastructure, made possible through BIL funding, will be instrumental in guiding our state into the future. Several small and rural communities will soon benefit from this funding, and we want to thank DEQ staff and our state and federal partners for their hard work and dedication,” said DEQ Chief of Staff, Robert Singletary. “For Oklahoma to be a Top Ten state, we must be able to meet water needs for our people, our businesses, our agriculture and our way of life.”
“BIL represents another historic investment into Oklahoma’s critical water infrastructure needs. We remain eternally grateful for all of our partners, stakeholder and our delegation and all the hard work they put in behind the scenes to keep Oklahoma moving in the right direction,” said OWRB Executive Director Julie Cunnningham. “We look forward to finishing what they started and continuing to meet the needs of Oklahoma communities and rural district.”
The Oklahoma Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) capitalization grant is being awarded to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality in the amount of $71,433,624 for their drinking water program. The DWSRF is a financial assistance program to help water systems and states to achieve the health protection objectives of the Safe Drinking Water Act. The focus of this program is to improve drinking water treatment, fixing aging water distribution system, improve sources of water supply and replace or repair water storage tanks.
The Oklahoma Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) capitalization grant is being awarded to the Oklahoma Water Resources Board in the amount of $15,134,000. The CWSRF is a financial assistance program to provide loans to eligible recipients to construct municipal wastewater facilities, control nonpoint sources of pollution, build decentralized wastewater systems, create green infrastructure projects, protect estuaries, and fund other water quality projects. Nearly half of the grant will focus on assisting disadvantaged communities across the state.
Capitalization grants will continue to be awarded, on a state-by-state basis, over the course of the next four years. As grants are awarded, the state SRF programs can begin to distribute the funds as grants and loans to communities across their state.
While the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law presents the largest low-cost and no-cost funding opportunity for investing in water infrastructure, other programs do exist to help communities manage their water resources. More information about funding is available here.
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Author: Region 06