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W.Va. Water Infrastructure Gains $80 Million In Federal EPA Funding

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More than $80 million in federal funding is coming to West Virginia’s water infrastructure from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The money comes as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law last year by the Biden administration. It adds to the $25 million awarded earlier this year to the state’s Drinking Water and Clean Water Revolving Funds.

The funding is set to be sent to local water systems across the state to help with services like repairs, replacing lead service lines and getting rid of contaminants and pollution.

It’s part of a $50 billion package, which the EPA is using to help local communities’ water systems across the country.

In an email to West Virginia Public Broadcasting, Terry Fletcher of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) said “the number of communities that receive funding from this program depends on which communities apply and complete the process.”

The WVDEP oversees the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.

A use plan document from the state’s Office of Environmental Health Services says it intends to use the current funds from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to fund 29 statewide projects.

This also comes after the U.S. Geological Survey detected at least one kind of “forever chemical,” known as PFAS, in 67 of West Virginia’s drinking water systems. These are synthetic chemicals that don’t break down in the environment and endanger human health.

This is the first round of money to be awarded to the state’s water infrastructure in the long-term future. The federal infrastructure law is set to provide more grants to West Virginia during the next four years.

Eastern Panhandle Reporter, ssnyder@wvpublic.org, 304-449-4653

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