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EPA puts $20.5 million toward state water projects

The Environmental Protection Agency announced on December 5 that it is contributing $20.5 million to the state’s plan to improve drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in communities around Alaska. 

In total, the state estimates its improvement plans will cost almost $85 million, with two thirds of that funding going towards wastewater projects and one third for drinking water improvements.

Heading into 2020, the Bristol Bay Borough is targeted for almost $13 million from the state to implement the second phase of improvements to Naknek’s wastewater system. That money hasn’t been awarded yet.

If the borough receives adequate funding, it will replace three aging wastewater lift stations, which are used for pumping sewage from lower to higher elevations. It will also extend two sewer force mains — a principal pipe that distributes water, gas or electricity, or that collects sewage.

The state's improvement plan is split into the Clean Water and Drinking Water state revolving funds. 

In a press release, EPA’s Region 10 Administrator Christ Hladick said, “The state revolving fund programs are essential to providing all Americans the clean and safe water they deserve. EPA is very proud to support Alaska’s plans and we remain committed to helping communities in Alaska with infrastructure improvements that protect their water resources."

Togiak is also in line for $770,719 to design and construct a heat recovery system. That system will take waste heat from the power plant and use it to serve the community’s water treatment plant.

The sources of funding for Alaska’s Clean Water revolving fund plan include $9.5 million from the EPA and $1.9 million state matching funds. The state’s Drinking Water fund plan includes $11 million from the EPA, along with $2.2 million in state matching funds. Those funds also receive repayments from prior loans, and interest earnings.

Contact the author at isabelle@kdlg.org or 907-842-2200

Izzy Ross is the news director at KDLG, the NPR member station in Dillingham. She reports, edits, and hosts stories from around the Bristol Bay region, and collaborates with other radio stations across the state.