USD$100 million given to Michigan for water infrastructure improvements

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality in Flint, Michigan, was bestowed USD$100 million by the United States of America (USA) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to invest in drinking water infrastructure improvements on Friday, 17th March. Granted by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016 (WIIN), the funds would allow Flint to expedite and broaden its work on various crucial infrastructure upgrades as well as replace lead service systems.

“The people of Flint and all Americans deserve a more responsive federal government,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said. “The EPA will especially focus on helping Michigan improve Flint’s water infrastructure as part of our larger goals of improving America’s water infrastructure.”

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said: “I appreciate the EPA approving this funding to assist with Flint’s recovery. Combined with the nearly USD$250 million in state funding already allocated, this will help keep Flint on a solid path forward. It’s great to see federal, state and local partners continuing to work together to help with infrastructure upgrades and pipe replacements for the people of Flint.”

“We are excited and very grateful to receive these much needed funds,” Flint mayor Karen Weaver said. “The City of Flint being awarded a grant of this magnitude in such a critical time of need will be a huge benefit. As we prepare to start the next phase of the FAST (Flint Action and Sustainability Team) Start pipe replacement programme, these funds will give us what we need to reach our goal of replacing 6,000 pipes this year and make other needed infrastructure improvements. We look forward to the continued support of the EPA and federal government.”

In a federal-state partnership, the funding from WIIN will add to the EPA’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF). Adding to the federal funds bestowed on Flint, the State of Michigan will also be awarding the necessary 20 per cent match, USD$20 million. Through the Drinking Water SRF, the EPA has contributed more than USD$32.5 million over the years to finance various infrastructure upgrades.

Under the Trump Administration, the financial plan for the SRF continues to stay fully subsidised, and the programme offers the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) a healthy budget to fund crucial infrastructure for wastewater and drinking water.