February 13, 2023
NEW YORK – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced more than $18.9 million from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to address emerging contaminants, like Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), in drinking water in Puerto Rico. This investment, which is allocated to states and territories, will be made available to communities as grants through EPA’s Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities (EC-SDC) Grant Program and will promote access to safe and clean water in small, rural, and disadvantaged communities while supporting local economies. EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan announced the availability of $2 billion.
“Too many American communities, especially those that are small, rural, or underserved, are suffering from exposure to PFAS and other harmful contaminants in their drinking water,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan. “Thanks to President Biden’s leadership, we are investing in America and providing unprecedented resources to strengthen our nation’s water infrastructure while safeguarding people’s health and boosting local economies. These grants build on EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap and will help protect our smallest and most vulnerable communities from these persistent and dangerous chemicals.”
“This funding is part of the once-in-a lifetime investments we are making to transform infrastructure under the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” said U.S. EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. “EPA looks forward to working with the government in Puerto Rico to deliver clean water, protect public health and advance environmental justice in all communities.”
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests $5 billion over five years to help communities that are on the frontlines of PFAS contamination reduce PFAS in drinking water. EPA announced the funds for Puerto Rico as part of an allotment of $2 billion to states and territories that can be used to prioritize infrastructure and source water treatment for pollutants, like PFAS and other emerging contaminants, and to conduct water quality testing.
“Federal support for addressing ground water contamination is critical, especially in jurisdictions like Puerto Rico where many small and rural communities lack resources to properly detect, track and address the presence of chemicals like PFAS,” said Congresswoman Jenniffer González–Colón. “Congress’ action in allocating funds for this purpose in authorizing and appropriating has always counted on my support and I look forward to continuing to oversee the work that is done.”
EPA is also releasing the Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities Grant Implementation document. The implementation document provides states and communities with the information necessary to use this funding to address local water quality and public health challenges. These grants will enable communities to improve local water infrastructure and reduce emerging contaminants in drinking water by implementing solutions such as installing necessary treatment solutions.
Today’s actions represent a significant milestone within the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitments to combat PFAS pollution and safeguard drinking water, and specifically EPA’s October 2021 PFAS Strategic Roadmap. Under the Roadmap, EPA is working across the agency to protect the public from the health impacts of PFAS. EPA has taken a number of actions to deliver progress on PFAS including:
In addition to this new grant, EPA is also working to propose a PFAS NPDWR in the coming weeks. The draft proposed rule is currently undergoing interagency review and EPA will issue the proposed rule for public comment when it clears the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The agency anticipates finalizing the rule by the end of 2023. Together, with today’s announcement, these actions highlight EPA’s commitments outlined in the PFAS Strategic Roadmap to protect public health and the environment from the impacts of PFAS. They also illustrate the benefits of investing in water—protecting public health and the environment, addressing key challenges facing communities, and creating jobs.
To learn more about EPA’s roadmap laying out a whole-of-agency approach to addressing PFAS, visit EPA’s PFAS web page.
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