The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $95 million in new funding to California for improvements in local wastewater infrastructure. The announcement was made by the EPA Pacific Southwest’s Water Division Director, Tomás Torres, in the City of Holtville where he joined Holtville Mayor Mike Goodsell and representatives of the State Water Board. The state will use the funds through its Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund to reduce water pollution.
The event in Holtville highlighted upgrades to the city’s wastewater treatment plant to comply with water quality standards and protect the Salton Sea into which it discharges. The city is paying for the $14.4 million project with approximately $7.5 million from the State Revolving Loan program plus $6.9 million from the EPA’s Border Environment Infrastructure Fund.
“EPA is committed to helping communities across Imperial Valley protect the state’s vital water resources,” said Mr. Torres. “Our investments renew aging infrastructure, which can be costly for smaller communities like Holtville.”
Holtville’s 850,000 gallon per day wastewater treatment plant serves 6,594 residents, but does not comply with discharge standards for ammonia, bacteria such as E. coli and other pollutants. In addition to the current project, EPA and U.S. Department of Agriculture recently provided $6 million to the city for a 3-mile sewage pipeline replacement and connections to 20 homes on failing septic systems.
California may allocate some of this year’s loan funds for the water recycling facility at the Padre Dam Municipal Water District in Santee. The district is on track to receive a $101.2 million loan to expand their water recycling facility from two to six million gallons a day, decreasing the demand on potable water supplies.
An example of a recently funded project is the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District’s $565 million Tertiary Treatment Facility Project. This is part of the massive EchoWater project that will enable Sacramento’s regional wastewater treatment plant to meet new water quality requirements by removing more ammonia and nitrates through filtration and enhanced disinfection. The project will serve over 1.4 million residents and help protect the sensitive Delta ecosystem.
Since its inception in 1988, the state’s Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund has been awarded more than $3 billion in federal funding. As loans are repaid and new state and federal dollars are added, the fund grows and continues to provide low interest loans and subsidies for projects. Without the loan program, many communities would incur greater debt or delay needed water quality projects. The EPA estimates that $271 billion is needed to address the nation’s aging and failing wastewater infrastructure, of which $26 billion is needed in California.
The EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region administers and enforces federal environmental laws in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands and 148 tribal nations — home to more than 48 million people.