The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is directing $82 million in Recovery Act Funds to Arizona water projects. The money will "create jobs, boost local economies, improve aging water and wastewater infrastructure and protect human health and the environment," says the EPA.
The money will come mostly in two big chunks: $55.3 million to provide low-interest loans that pay for infrastructure improvements for drinking-water systems, and $26.4 million for low-interest loans to finance wastewater and pollution-control projects. The program "emphasizes" the giving of funds to "small and disadvantaged communities" and to programs that already perform some types of pollution control for drinking water sources.
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All told, the federal government plans to spread $6 billion around the country for water and wastewater infrastructure projects as part of the Recovery Act. Doing a bit of math, (about all we're capable of), we realized that Arizona is getting only about 1.4 percent of the pie, though we have about 2.1 percent of the country's population.
We asked EPA spokeswoman Margot Perez-Sullivan about that -- she says the amount apportioned to each state was based on a formula based on population and infrastructure need.
So the shortchange is actually good news: Arizona must not be as needy as other states.