EPA grants $14 million for Vermont water infrastructure

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday announced a $14.7 million federal water infrastructure grant to the State of Vermont.

The funds will be used to upgrade sewage plants and drinking water systems throughout the state, according to a press release from the EPA.

About half of the money will go to a state loan program — the Clean Water State Revolving Fund — which is administrated by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and the Vermont Bond Bank.

The program provides low-interest loans for improvements to wastewater treatment systems, to control pollution from stormwater runoff and to protect sensitive water bodies.

Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Emily Boedecker said the state will use some of the new funds to refurbish the City of St. Albans wastewater treatment facility to address phosphorous pollution in St. Albans Bay.

“This Federal funding … is critical to maintaining and upgrading our water and wastewater infrastructure,” she said.

The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program, also administrated by the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Vermont Bond Bank, will receive the other half of the money. The program provides low-interest loans to finance improvements to drinking water systems, with a particular focus on providing funds to small and disadvantaged communities. It also offers loans to programs that encourage source protection and oversee system operations and training to ensure safe drinking water.

“EPA’s clean water and drinking water funding provides a critical infusion of money that accelerates the construction of projects to meet communities’ water infrastructure needs,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said. “These investments empower our states and municipalities to solve real environmental problems in our communities, like the need for clean and safe water.”