Wyoming Gets Millions from EPA for Rural Water Quality Improvements
Written by Andrew-Rossi on February 14, 2023
Wyoming is getting nearly $20 million in federal funding – this time from the E.P.A. – for infrastructure to improve water quality in small, rural communities across the state.
On Monday, Feb. 13, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) announced $18,914,000 from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to address emerging contaminants, like Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (P.F.A.S.) in drinking water in Wyoming. This investment, which is allocated to states and territories, will be made available to communities as grants through E.P.A.’s Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities (E.C.-S.D.C.) Grant Program and will promote access to safe and clean water in small, rural, and disadvantaged communities while supporting local economies.
Administrator Michael S. Regan announced the availability of $2 billion in water infrastructure investments at an earlier event in North Carolina.
“Too many American communities, especially those that are small, rural, or underserved, are suffering from exposure to P.F.A.S. and other harmful contaminants in their drinking water,” said E.P.A. Administrator Michael Regan. “Thanks to President Biden’s leadership, we are investing in America and providing billions of dollars to strengthen our nation’s water infrastructure while safeguarding people’s health and boosting local economies. These grants build on E.P.A.’s P.F.A.S. Strategic Roadmap and will help protect our smallest and most vulnerable communities from these persistent and dangerous chemicals.”
“E.P.A. is delivering on its strategic commitment to address P.F.A.S. and emerging contaminants with more than $18 million for infrastructure projects that will safeguard Wyoming’s drinking water for years to come,” said E.P.A. Regional Administrator KC Becker. “These funds will help water providers invest in treatment technologies and solutions to contamination concerns in the communities that need them most.”
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests $5 billion over five years to help communities that are on the frontlines of P.F.A.S. contamination reduce P.F.A.S. in drinking water.
E.P.A. announced the funds for Wyoming as part of an allotment of $2 billion to states and territories that can be used to prioritize infrastructure and source water treatment for pollutants, like P.F.A.S. and other emerging contaminants, and to conduct water quality testing.
E.P.A. is also releasing the Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities Grant Implementation document. The implementation document provides states and communities with the information necessary to use this funding to address local water quality and public health challenges. These grants will enable communities to improve local water infrastructure and reduce emerging contaminants in drinking water by implementing solutions such as installing necessary treatment solutions.
Today’s actions represent a significant milestone within the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitments to combat P.F.A.S. pollution and safeguard drinking water, and specifically E.P.A.’s October 2021 P.F.A.S. Strategic Roadmap.
Under the Roadmap, E.P.A. is working across the agency to protect the public from the health impacts of P.F.A.S. E.P.A. has taken several actions to deliver progress on P.F.A.S. .including:
- Proposing to designate two P.F.A.S. as C.E.R.C.L.A. hazardous substances. If finalized, this will be a critical step toward increasing transparency around releases of P.F.A.S. and holding polluters accountable for cleaning up their contamination.
- Releasing drinking water health advisories. Acting by E.P.A.’s mission to protect public health and keep communities and public health authorities informed when new science becomes available, the Agency issued drinking water health advisories for four P.F.A.S.
- Laying the foundation to enhance data on P.F.A.S. This included an order under E.P.A.’s National P.F.A.S. Testing Strategy requiring companies to conduct P.F.A.S. testing and nationwide sampling through the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule for 29 P.F.A.S. in public drinking water systems.
- Expanding the scientific understanding of P.F.A.S. The Agency issued more than 30 scientific publications by E.P.A. researchers and released E.P.A.’s P.F.A.S. Thermal Treatment Database.
- Translating the latest science into E.P.A.’s cross-agency P.F.A.S. efforts. This included updating E.P.A.’s contaminated site cleanup tables, developing new P.F.A..S methods, conducting toxicity assessments, and issuing draft national recommended water quality criteria to protect aquatic life.
- Continuing engagement with the public. E.P.A.’s P.F.A.S. work was informed by public webinars, stakeholder meetings, Congressional testimony, and engagement with E.P.A.’s federal advisory committees.
In addition to this new grant, E.P.A. is also working to propose a P.F.A.S. N.P.D.W.R. in the coming weeks. The draft proposed rule is currently undergoing interagency review, and E.P.A. will issue the proposed rule for public comment when it clears the Office of Management and Budget (O.M.B.). The agency anticipates finalizing the rule by the end of 2023.
These actions highlight E.P.A.’s commitments outlined in the P.F.A.S. Strategic Roadmap to protect public health and the environment from the impacts of P.F.AS. They also illustrate the benefits of investing in water—protecting public health and the environment, addressing community challenges, and creating jobs.