Tuesday, February 20, 2024

EPA invests $62M in grants to NC to address PFAS

June 15, EPA Office of Water Assistant Administrator Radhika Fox will be touring CFPUA’s Sweeney Water Treatment Plant and the Granular Activated Carbon filter facility, currently under construction. (Port City Daily/Alexandria Sands)

A federal agency announced Monday it has allocated multi-millions of dollars to North Carolina for addressing harmful contaminants in drinking water.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is appropriating $61.7 million from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, passed in 2021, to tackle PFAS in drinking water in the most vulnerable communities.

READ MORE: No ruling yet as impacted communities plea for EPA to grant PFAS testing in federal hearing

N.C. Sen. Thom Tillis helped negotiate the grants within the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill.

“This grant will give our communities the tools they need to ensure all North Carolinians have access to clean, safe drinking water they need and deserve,” he said in a release.

The funds will be allocated to communities through EPA’s Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities Grant Program. Its purpose is to promote access to safe and clean water in small, rural and disadvantaged communities in the state.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests $5 billion over five years to benefit communities on the frontlines of PFAS contamination to reduce toxic pollution from their drinking water. North Carolina’s allotment is part of $2 billion being awarded to states and territories.

“Families deserve to have confidence when they turn on the tap,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a press release. “North Carolina has become a leader in pushing to curb PFAS pollution, and this investment will help the effort to ensure our underserved communities have access to safe and clean water.”

The grants can be used to prioritize infrastructure and source water treatment for pollutants, such as PFAS and other emerging contaminants, as well as cover water quality testing.

“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,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a press release. “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.”

Regan added the grants are part of the EPA’s announced PFAS Strategic Roadmap, detailing a timeline for implementing new policy and holding polluters accountable. It was enacted in 2021 to cover four years of investment in research, restricting PFAS compounds and accelerating the cleanup of PFAS sites.

The EPA is working to propose a National Primary Drinking Water Regulation for PFAS. The draft proposed rule is under review and will be available for public comment after it clears the Office of Management and Budget. The agency anticipates finalizing the rule by the end of 2023.

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