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Friday, August 19, 2022

Indiana to receive investment in lead service lines and water infrastructure

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Indiana will receive $127 million in federal funding every year for the next five years from the recently passed infrastructure law to address lead pipes and wastewater issues.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan called for the money to be invested in underserved communities. A majority of the money will go to the State Revolving Fund Loans Programs, which gives low-interest loans to improve wastewater and drinking water infrastructure.

Although Indiana has already been investing in water infrastructure, many communities have not seen that investment or their fair share of wastewater funding, according to a press release from the EPA. The money from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill aims to reduce those disparities.

About $43 million will go toward lead service line projects, said Jim McGoff, chief operating officer and director of environmental programs. The EPA will assist the state revolving fund to share models, guidance and ensure the funding is equitably distributed. Half of the money received needs to be distributed in the form of grants or forgivable loans to disadvantaged communities, McGoff said.

The EPA identifies a disadvantaged community as a community that contains a median household income of less than $47,000 a year.

Currently the state’s revolving fund is reviewing applications to identify projects for the funds.

The money will also address perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFA’s) and other emerging contaminants. About $11 million will be allocated to reduce people’s exposures to PFA’s.

The state will publish a draft for public comment to decide who will receive the funding, according to Tera Fong, director of the water division for the EPA. Indiana is one of the first states to access the new EPA funds, so trying to be proactive to benefit the state has been challenging, McGoff said.

The EPA will have to approve the funding plans.

Contact staff writer Jayden Kennett at 317-762-7847 or email at jaydenk@indyrecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @JournoJay.

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