The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday it has allotted $27 million to Puerto Rico to help finance improvements to water projects that are essential to protecting public health and the environment.
The funds will be used to finance water quality protection and drinking water projects that will last far into the future, the agency said.
“This funding will improve water quality and protect drinking water across Puerto Rico,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “Clean drinking water and proper wastewater treatment are fundamental to protecting people’s health, but aging water infrastructure needs to be upgraded and repaired. EPA’s funding helps Puerto Rico to continue its program to invest in drinking water and wastewater systems and protect people’s health.”
The Clean Water State Revolving Fund program, administrated by the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board, was allotted some $18.3 million. The program provides low-interest loans for water quality protection projects to make improvements to wastewater treatment systems, control pollution from rain water runoff, and protect sensitive water bodies, including the San Juan Bay estuary.
Meanwhile, the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program, administrated by the Puerto Rico Department of Health, was allotted some $8.8 million. 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.
Since 1989, the EPA has awarded more than $700 million to Puerto Rico through these programs, the agency confirmed
“As communities develop and climate patterns shift, water infrastructure needs can only be expected to grow. Green infrastructure is a cost-effective and resilient approach to water infrastructure needs that provides benefits to communities across the nation,” the agency said.