HARRISBURG – Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty announced today that municipalities, municipal authorities and public school districts have until Dec. 15 to apply for a portion of $1 million that is available to help finance improvements to existing sewage facilities and drinking water systems using new or innovative technologies.
“Pennsylvania’s water and wastewater infrastructure plays a critical role in growing our economy and keeping our residents safe,” said McGinty. “While the funds are important and will have a measurable impact on preventing pollution , conserving water and reducing energy consumption in Pennsylvania, it’s not enough.”
The Clean Water State Revolving Fund has been a significant part of the commonwealth’s water quality improvement efforts for two decades. The program combines state and federal funds to upgrade aging infrastructure, but the federal government has cut the fund by nearly half in just the last three years.
In 2004, $1.34 billion was available, compared to $886 million last year. Pennsylvania’s share of the fund was cut by $30 million to $27 million.
“These steep cuts jeopardize our ability to tackle the serious environmental and economic infrastructure challenges facing our communities,” said McGinty. “As federal support for the state’s water and wastewater infrastructure continues to decline, these investments become even more critical.”
Grants of up to $500,000 are available through the Growing Greener program to make physical improvements to existing facilities, as well as sanitary and combined sewer collection/conveyance systems.
Preference will be given to wastewater treatment projects that use new or innovative technology to reduce energy consumption compared to conventional processes. Incorporating advanced technologies also improves the efficiency, effectiveness and reliability of existing facilities.
New or innovative technology refers to an approach that is commercially available but is not yet used widely in Pennsylvania, and should provide one or more significant advantages over conventional technology.
“By making critical investments now to maintain and improve Pennsylvania’s infrastructure, we are helping to ensure that drinking water and wastewater systems will meet the needs of tomorrow,” said McGinty.
The deadline for submitting innovative water and wastewater grant applications is Nov. 30. The application form is available electronically here, keyword: Growing Greener Innovative Technology.