By Peter Chawaga, Associate Editor, Water Online
At a time when many water systems around the country need all the help they can get with protecting source water, maintaining infrastructure, and eliminating contaminants, the state of Iowa has secured a critical boost.
“The federal Environmental Protection Agency is adding $12.3 million to a loan fund that will help pay for drinking water projects in Iowa,” The Des Moines Register reported. “The money will help pay for projects across Iowa that will improve municipal drinking water supplies, protect water systems and improve efficiency.”
The funds were secured through an annual “capitalization grant” awarded to the state’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program, per the U.S EPA. The grant is used for a variety of drinking water improvement projects in Iowa and a list of the specific projects slated to receive funding is publicly available.
For instance, Iowa runs a “local water protection program” that helps local landowners protect source water.
“The [program] offers low-interest loans through participating lenders to Iowa landowners for projects to control the runoff of sediments, nutrients, pesticides or other nonpoint source pollutants from entering Iowa waters,” per a program website.
Another avenue for the money is Iowa’s “on-site waste water assistance program.”
“The [program] offers low-interest loans through participating lenders to rural homeowners for the replacement of inadequate or failing septic systems,” the website reads. “According to Iowa law, all septic systems, regardless of when they were installed, must have a secondary wastewater treatment system following the septic tank.”
There is little doubt that federal funds for water and wastewater projects are in high demand outside of Iowa too and the EPA seems open to all those who want to apply.
“Clean drinking water and proper wastewater treatment are fundamental to protecting people’s health, but aging water infrastructure needs to be upgraded and repaired,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said, per the agency website. “Making investments like these will allow Iowa to protect water quality across the state.”
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Image credit: "iowa," barbarakagima, 2007, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/