The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a $100-million grant to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to fund drinking water infrastructure upgrades in Flint, funding that had been approved by Congress and former President Barack Obama late last year.
Provided by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016, the funds awarded Friday, March 17, are designed to allow the city to accelerate work to replace lead service lines and make other infrastructure improvements, including upgrades to Flint’s water treatment plant.
The federal award to Michigan comes a month after the state backed Flint Mayor Karen Weaver’s proposal for spending the money as well as $20 million in matching funds from the state.
“The people of Flint and all Americans deserve a more responsive federal government,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a news release from the agency. “EPA will especially focus on helping Michigan improve Flint’s water infrastructure as part of our larger goal of improving America’s water infrastructure.”
Where, how and when Flint plans to replace 6,000 water lines
Weaver said in a statement that she’s “excited and very grateful to receive these much-needed funds.”
“The city of Flint being awarded a grant of this magnitude in such a critical time of need will be a huge benefit,” the mayor said. “As we prepare to start the next phase of the … pipe replacement program, these funds will give us what we need to reach our goal of replacing 6,000 pipes this year and make other needed infrastructure improvements. We look forward to the continued support of the EPA and federal government.”
Gov. Rick Snyder said in a statement that the award of federal funds is appreciated and needed in Flint.
“Combined with the nearly $250 million in state funding already allocated, this will help keep Flint on a solid path forward,” Snyder’s statement says. “It’s great to see federal, state and local partners continuing to work together to help with infrastructure upgrades and pipe replacements for the people of Flint.”
State gives Flint mayor’s $120-million water crisis plan push forward The WIIN funding supplements EPA’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, which has provided more than $32.5 billion to states for infrastructure upgrades through the years, the agency says.
“Under President Trump’s budget blueprint, SRF remains fully funded, and the proposal provides robust funding for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program to finance critical drinking and wastewater infrastructure,” the EPA news release says.