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West Virginia Counties to Receive Historic Funding to Assist with Wastewater Sanitation

– Raleigh and McDowell Counties Among 11 Piloted Communities Receiving Assistance from

EPA and USDA –

 

PHILADELPHIA (Aug. 2, 2022) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agricultural announced an historic partnership that will provide technical assistance resources to 11 underserved piloted communities across the country. The Closing America’s Wastewater Access Gap Community Initiative using funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) will target communities where residents lack basic wastewater management, such as in Raleigh and McDowell Counties, West Virginia.

 

“With EPA and USDA teaming up to provide West Virginians access to federal funding for wastewater management,” said Adam Ortiz, EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator, “residents living with crumbling infrastructure and lacking access to the basics like clean water, will suffer no more. This will make an impact for generations to come.”

 

Residents in McDowell County, among the nation’s poorest counties, lack safe drinking water and an estimated two-thirds of homes lack basic wastewater treatment. In Raleigh County, residents sometimes deal with discolored water with strong odors.

 

The initiative will enable EPA and USDA to jointly leverage technical assistance resources to help historically underserved communities identify and pursue federal funding opportunities to address wastewater infrastructure needs and eliminate harmful exposure to backyard sewage. Lawmakers across West Virginia in support of BIL are excited to see the government at work to help those who are in need the most.

 

If you are a community interested in learning more about Technical Assistance opportunities, visit https://www.epa.gov/water-infrastructure/water-technical-assistance.

 

What they are saying:

 

“Every West Virginian deserves clean water to drink and fresh air to breathe. The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act continues to deliver critical investments for our communities that spur economic growth and enhance public health, and I am pleased the EPA and USDA are partnering to identify new opportunities and upgrade wastewater infrastructure in McDowell and Raleigh Counties. I look forward to seeing the positive impacts of this collaboration for years to come, and I will continue working to ensure our rural communities across the Mountain State have the resources they need to thrive,” said Senator Joe Manchin, (WV).

 

“Investing in reliable wastewater infrastructure is key to improving the health and wellbeing of our residents and creating the foundation for economic growth,” said U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (WV), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “As I was negotiating and helping craft the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, strengthening the wastewater infrastructure in West Virginia was a top priority, and I’m pleased to see McDowell and Raleigh counties included in the first round of recipients. I have long been an advocate for increased support for our wastewater systems in West Virginia, and I will continue to help deliver the resources our communities need to overcome the infrastructure challenges they face.” 

 

“To have two communities in West Virginia selected among 11 participants in this nationwide initiative is an incredibly exciting opportunity,” said West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Harold Ward. “Under the leadership of Governor Jim Justice, West Virginia has committed millions of dollars toward improving wastewater systems in several areas across the state. But now, this additional help from the EPA and the USDA will provide an even bigger boost in our efforts to modernize this critical infrastructure in McDowell and Raleigh counties. This initiative is going to make a real difference in the lives of countless people across our state and our nation.”