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EPA assigns $19M to tackle contaminants in Puerto Rico’s drinking water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced more than $18.9 million from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to address emerging contaminants, such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), in drinking water in Puerto Rico.

This investment, which is allocated to states and territories, will be made available to communities as grants through the EPA’s Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities (EC-SDC) Grant Program and will promote access to safe and clean water in small, rural and disadvantaged communities while supporting local economies, the agency stated.

“This funding is part of the once-in-a lifetime investments we are making to transform infrastructure under the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” said EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. “EPA looks forward to working with the government in Puerto Rico to deliver clean water, protect public health and advance environmental justice in all communities.”

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests $5 billion over five years to help communities that are on the front lines of PFAS contamination in drinking water.

EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan announced the availability of the funds for Puerto Rico as part of an allotment of $2 billion to states and territories that can be used to prioritize infrastructure and source water treatment for pollutants, like PFAS and other emerging contaminants, as well as to conduct water quality testing.

“Federal support for addressing ground water contamination is critical, especially in jurisdictions like Puerto Rico where many small and rural communities lack resources to properly detect, track and address the presence of chemicals like PFAS,” said Puerto Rico’s resident commissioner in Washington, D.C., Jenniffer González-Colón.

“Congress’ action in allocating funds for this purpose, in authorizing and appropriating, has always counted on my support, and I look forward to continuing to oversee the work that is done,” she said.

The EPA is also releasing the Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities Grant Implementation document, which provides states and communities with the information necessary to use this funding to address local water quality and public health challenges.

These grants will enable communities to improve local water infrastructure and reduce emerging contaminants in drinking water by implementing solutions such as installing necessary treatment solutions.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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