EPA Allots $182M for CA Water Projects


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making $182 million in funding available for California to invest in projects that will improve local drinking water and wastewater infrastructure and decrease water pollution.

The availability of funds was announced in an agency statement released Wednesday (Jan. 27).

The funding, intended for use across the state of California, is targeted at water quality projects that will reduce water pollution, improve municipal drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, make projects more sustainable by increasing water and energy efficiency, and provide technical assistance to communities.

A water recycling project in the City of Carlsbad was featured as one high-priority job in the state that demonstrates the achievements that are possible through federal funding.

“This substantial investment at the federal level helps communities like Carlsbad provide sustainable sources of water in the face of California’s historic drought,” said EPA Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld.

“EPA is committed to protecting the state’s water resources so critical to our environment, public health and economy.”

Enabling Effective Water Recycling

As part of the funding announcement, Blumenfeld and Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall shined a spotlight on the benefits that will come from an expansion of the Carlsbad Water Recycling Facility.  

The site has received $37 million in funding for this project over the past several years, earmarked to help to essentially double the facility’s capacity to generate water for non-potable uses like irrigation and industrial uses.

As part of the expansion plans, the facility will grow its capacity from 4,100 acre-feet per year to 7,235 acre-feet per year.

© iStock.com / Aerofoto_hu

Some funds are used for water recyling plants; according to Carlsbad Mayor Hall, every gallon of recycled water means one less gallon of potable water that the city must buy.

It will involve construction of 18 miles of pile and a new storage tank, as well as 156 new recycled water meters.

According to the city, the new facility will enable Carlsbad to recycle and use all of its wastewater during summer months, meeting nearly 33 percent of its Water District’s annual water needs.

Every gallon of recycled water means one less gallon of potable water that the city must buy, said Hall.

Given the drought conditions California has been experiencing, finding solutions to conserve and reuse water is becoming a top concern, the San Diego Union-Tribune noted.

“We are thinking sustainability,” Blumenfeld told the paper. “We are going to have more dry years in the future, and this is our insurance against that.”

The city will use about $30 million through a 1 percent interest State Revolving Fund loan and an additional $7 million in other funding for the project.

Additional Funding Disbursements

The state will also distribute the new funds to San Francisco’s planned Lake Merced Green Infrastructure Project. Here, the city plans to install stormwater management improvements, such as bio-retention planters and linear vegetation strips along curbs in a dense residential area within a disadvantaged part of town.

The City of Davis will also receive money to change the source of its drinking water from groundwater to the Sacramento River by connecting to a new regional water treatment facility. This will reduce the amount of selenium in the drinking water and help Davis meet the requirements of its wastewater discharge permit.

The City of San Diego expects to receive about $9 million to support a sewer pipeline rehabilitation project and a new Sorrento Mesa recycled water pipeline.

Recently, the city also used program loans to make improvements to its Metro Biosolids Center. This project involved upgrades to the facility that enabled the conversion of solids from area wastewater treatment facilities into high-quality fertilizer for agricultural crops, gardens, parks and landfill cover.

The facility also uses their cogeneration capabilities to convert methane gas from solid waste to energy that powers the largest City wastewater facilities.

©iStock.com / DenGuy

The money from the EPA goes into California’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which provides financing in the form of low-interest loans for municipal wastewater treatment projects.

Valley Center Municipal Water District anticipates $4 million to expand its Woods Valley Ranch Wastewater Treatment Plant, a job that has received nearly $31 million in loans to date, the Union-Tribune reports.

The expansion of the facility will provide sewage service to areas that would otherwise rely on septic systems, the paper noted. Recycled water from the plant will be used to irrigate a nearby golf course and other areas, which currently rely on potable water, or piped into a new storage reservoir.

Recycled water costs about one-quarter the amount imported potable water does, Hall noted.

Supporting Water Projects

As reported earlier, the agency estimates that $271 billion is needed to address the nation’s aging and failing wastewater infrastructure, of which $26 billion is needed for this purpose in California.

The money from the EPA goes into California’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which provides financing in the form of low-interest loans for municipal wastewater treatment projects. Additionally, the state’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund provides financial assistance for drinking water infrastructure improvements.

As districts repay the loans, that money becomes available for new water projects, the Union-Tribune wrote.

Since the inception of California’s clean water and drinking water revolving funds programs in 1988 and 1996, respectively, the EPA has awarded more than $4.6 billion in federal funding.

At the end of 2015, the EPA also awarded more than $165 million to six New England states in support of water projects.


Tagged categories: Business matters; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Funding; North America; Pipelines; potable water; Program/Project Management; Sewer systems; Wastewater Plants; Water Tanks; Water Works

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