EPA Announces $55 Million for Water Infrastructure in Indiana
EPA also announces a $140,000 Environmental Justice Grant for Marion County to Improve Indoor Air Quality
GREENWOOD, IND. (Oct. 28, 2020) — Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede announced in Greenwood a total of more than $55 million for water infrastructure in Indiana, helping to keep drinking water safe and reducing children’s exposure to lead. EPA also announced a $140,000 Environmental Justice grant to address COVID-19 issues for Marion County to improve indoor air quality in vulnerable populations.
“This Administration has prioritized the safeguarding of all of our water resources, and part of that effort includes replacing and updating water infrastructure like we have here in Indiana,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede. “October is Children’s Health Month, and we’re proud of the work we’re doing at EPA to ensure the health of children and communities across Indiana with these efforts. This Agency has been proactive in addressing air quality issues, regardless of what zip code they are in. The Environmental Justice grant to Marion County will provide resources to communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 that will help them breathe cleaner, healthier air in their homes.”
“Safe water and clean air are vital to the health and wellbeing of all Hoosiers,” said IDEM Commissioner Bruno Pigott. “This funding from EPA will help to improve the lives of vulnerable communities across Indiana.”
EPA announced more than $55 million to the state of Indiana through the clean water and drinking water state revolving loan funds (SRF). Indiana uses these funds to provide low-interest financing to communities across the state for costs associated with the planning, design and construction of eligible wastewater or drinking water infrastructure projects and activities to protect human health, such as replacing lead service lines.
EPA is also announcing a $415,000 Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN) grant to the state of Indiana for additional testing for lead in drinking water at schools and childcare programs. In addition, EPA is providing $544,000 in WIIN funding to Indiana for repair and replacement of any fixtures where lead in drinking water is found through the sampling program at schools and childcare facilities.
“This funding is imperative to programs such as Indiana's school and childcare lead-testing initiative. We believe Indiana's program can be a model for other states because it’s proactive in the absence of policy, leverages available federal and state funding resources specific to water-quality improvements, and provides assistance to schools via resources and guidance to help them participate in testing and implement remediation when applicable,” said Indiana Finance Authority Jim McGoff, COO & Director of Environmental Programs for the Indiana Finance Authority.
EPA also announced a $140,000 Environmental Justice grant for addressing COVID-19 issues to the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County to help improve indoor air quality in the homes of at-risk seniors and other vulnerable individuals. The Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County’s Stay Home, Stay Safe program will perform up to 300 home assessments and provide toolkits to empower at-risk seniors, and other vulnerable individuals from minority, underserved populations within Marion County to improve their indoor environments. The toolkits will address common indoor air asthma triggers and provide clients with information on EPA-approved pesticides, disinfectants, and ‘green cleaning’ products, allowing participants to address their home’s issues and reduce exposure to toxins.
“Not only does this program allow us to check a person’s living area for air quality issues, but it provides residents with education and specific steps for creating a healthier environment,“ said Virginia A. Caine, M.D., director and chief medical officer of the Marion County Public Health Department. “A healthy home is one important way to improve public health and quality of life.”
“This funding from EPA allows us to expand on our current program and address the additional needs during COVID-19 to make homes a safer place,” said Karla Johnson, administrator of the Marion County Public Health Department’s Healthy Homes, Environmental Consumer Management & Senior Care Department. “Seniors and other at-risk populations are especially vulnerable right now, and we look forward to providing this service to protect their health.”
The 2016 Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN Act) addresses, supports, and improves America's drinking water infrastructure. Included in the WIIN Act are three drinking water grants that promote public health and the protection of the environment. Since 2018, EPA has made available more than $69 million to support testing for lead in drinking water at schools and childcare programs and $42.8 million to assist public water systems in underserved, small, and disadvantaged communities meet Safe Drinking Water Act requirements.
For more information visit: https://www.epa.gov/safewater/grants
For more information about Children’s Health Month: https://www.epa.gov/children/childrens-health-month-resources
For more information on EPA’s Environmental Justice program: https://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/state-environmental-justice-cooperative-agreement-program