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EPA Recognizes Ashland, Wis., for Excellence and Innovation in Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure

11/18/2019
Contact Information: 
Francisco Arcaute (arcaute.francisco@epa.gov)
312-886-7613, 312-898-2042 cell

For Immediate Release No. 19-OPA121

ASHLAND, Wis. (November 18, 2019) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized the City of Ashland, Wis., with an AQUARIUS award for the city’s private lead service line (LSL) replacement project, one of 25 drinking water infrastructure projects honored for excellence and innovation within the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) programs. These exemplary projects showcase water quality improvements and public health protections that can be achieved when the federal government, states, municipalities and local utilities work together.

“The State Revolving Fund programs play a critical role in helping communities modernize aging infrastructure, create jobs, and protect public health and the environment,” said David Ross, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Water. “These projects are making vital water quality improvements in communities across the country.”

EPA’s inaugural AQUARIUS program recognition celebrates innovation, sustainability, and public health protection demonstrated by DWSRF programs and assistance recipients. Each participating state program nominated one project for this first-ever recognition. Nominated projects all had to complete construction within the last two years, and be compliant with the Safe Drinking Water Act, along with providing financial integrity and public health benefits.

“Today’s AQUARIUS award acknowledges the efforts that the City of Ashland has made to remove the dangers of lead in their water system,” said EPA Regional Administrator Cathy Stepp. “From updating the Lead and Copper Rule to finalizing stronger lead-dust standards, the Trump Administration is taking significant steps to protect children, and is collaborating with stakeholders, water systems, and state and local officials on how we can best work together to reduce childhood lead exposure.”

“The City is committed to protecting the public health of Ashland residents through the provision of safe drinking water supply, extending to the ongoing removal of lead components from the water distribution system,” said John Butler, Ashland’s Public Works Director. “The City of Ashland is very appreciative of the technical, administrative, and financial support received from the Wisconsin DNR as part of the Lead Service Lateral replacement project and is pleased that the benefits of this project, particularly the financial savings, could be passed on to over 200 City residents.”

The City of Ashland received $300,000 in the first year of Wisconsin’s LSL replacement program to provide full lead service line replacement for residential properties, schools or daycares. The City is providing grants to cover 100% of the replacement costs and replaced 108 residential LSLs as well as one LSL connected to a daycare with funding awarded in the first year of the program. For year two of the program, Ashland was awarded an additional $300,000 and has so far replaced 52 residential lead service lines.

The State Revolving Funds (SRF) are EPA-state partnerships that provide communities with a permanent, independent source of low-cost financing for a wide range of water quality and drinking water infrastructure projects. EPA’s SRFs have provided more than $170 billion in financial assistance to over 39,900 water quality infrastructure projects and 14,500 drinking water projects across the country. This year’s honored projects include large wastewater infrastructure upgrades, community driven green infrastructure development and the construction of new water treatment plants. Several projects also include lead service line replacement, furthering EPA’s goals to protect human health under the Federal Lead Action Plan. All of these projects highlight outstanding achievements in water quality improvement that benefit Americans from coast to coast.

To see the full list of recognized projects and learn more about the AQUARIUS Program, visit: https://www.epa.gov/dwsrf/announcing-2019-aquarius-recognition-program.

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