The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it will provide up to $15 million in funding for training and technical assistance to small drinking and wastewater systems, defined as systems that serve fewer than 10,000 people, and private well owners. The funding will help provide water system staff with training and tools to enhance system operations and management practices, and supports EPA’s continuing efforts to protect public health, restore watersheds and promote sustainability in small communities.
Most of the funding, up to $14.5 million, will provide training and technical assistance to small public water systems to achieve and maintain compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act and to small publicly-owned wastewater systems, communities served by on-site systems, and private well owners to improve water quality.
More than 97 percent of the nation’s 157,000 public water systems serve fewer than 10,000 people, and more than 80 percent of these systems serve fewer than 500 people. Many small systems face unique challenges in providing reliable drinking water and wastewater services that meet federal and state regulations. These challenges can include a lack of financial resources, aging infrastructure, management limitations and high staff turnover.
EPA expects to make available up to $500,000 to provide training and technical assistance to tribally-owned and operated public water systems. Applications must be received by EPA by April 9, 2012. EPA expects to award these cooperative agreements by Summer 2012.