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Environment Matters Audio Podcast

Environment Matters
EPA Region 3
Topic: A Quarter Century of Clean Water Projects
Size: : 2,794k
Time: 02:59

Date: January 2, 2014

[music]

Lena: Traveling through the Mid-Atlantic region, you'll see the benefits of an EPA program that for 25 years has been helping communities pay for water infrastructure projects. Hi, I'm Lena Kim, and you’re listening to Environment Matters, EPA's series of environmental podcasts.

The Clean Water State Revolving Fund has left its mark in many ways – all designed to improve water quality, public health and local economies.

A sampling of projects in the past few years alone gives you a flavor for how the program is assisting communities.

In Maryland and the District of Columbia, funding for improvements to major wastewater treatment plants will significantly reduce pollution affecting local waters and the Chesapeake Bay.

In West Virginia, program funds allowed a small, low-income community to prevent raw sewage from entering local streams.

In Pennsylvania, farms in Lancaster County used the Clean Water Revolving Fund to put in place pollution-reduction measures, and the City of Philadelphia installed green infrastructure to help control stormwater.

In Delaware and Virginia, sewage treatment plants are converting gases into energy to power their facilities.

In a quarter century, the Clean Water State Revolving Fund has invested more than eight billion dollars in local infrastructure and more than 100 billion nationwide.

Maggie Cunningham of EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Water Protection Division says the program is a formula for success.

Maggie Cunningham: "It's a true partnership.  EPA provides grants to the states, and the states in turn, make low-interest loans to communities, non profits and others for needed projects.  The program grows with annual federal grants, state contributions, loan repayments and interest to create a sizeable source of money that is put to good use.  Loans from the program must have very low interest rates, which keeps projects affordable to the communities."

Lena: Maggie says the program has evolved over the years to meet a wider variety of needs.

Maggie Cunningham: "The Clean Water Revolving Fund program started off primarily as a fund for improvements to wastewater treatment plants, but it's expanded over the years to include energy efficiency, green infrastructure, stormwater, septic systems – pretty much any project that will improve local water quality.  After all our goal is clean and safe water for everyone. And in 2009, we received a big infusion of funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act."

Lena: The Clean Water State Revolving Fund has financed scores of projects that have helped wastewater treatment plants lead the way in reducing pollution affecting the Chesapeake Bay.

The fund is one of the ways EPA is working with states to make a visible difference in communities.

For more information on the program, visit water.epa.gov/grants_funding.  And thanks for joining us on Environment Matters.

[music ends]

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