June 02, 2009

CARDIN JOINS EPA IN ANNOUNCING $121.6 MILLION IN ARRA FUNDING FOR MARYLAND CLEAN WATER PROJECTS

Funds Will Support Water Quality and Drinking Water Projects in Every County

BLADENSBURG , MD - U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) today joined Congressman Christopher Van Hollen (MD-8), officials from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to announce $121.6 million in funds for Maryland water quality and drinking water projects under President Barack Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

 

The ARRA funding will enable construction of water infrastructure projects that are estimated to create hundreds of jobs, and that will protect public health, improve the environment, and help clean up the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland waterways. There have been more than 600 statewide applicants for ARRA funding, and it is expected that each county will receive some clean water recovery funding.

 

A total of $92.8 million is proposed for pollution reduction projects, including wastewater treatment improvements, sewer upgrades, and stormwater runoff controls; $26.4 million is proposed for improvements to drinking water treatment, water storage, and wells. Today's event highlighted a $4 million grant to the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission for repairs to the Lower Anacostia Sewer Main and Lateral Lining, located in one of the State's Environmental Benefits Districts, as one of 95 proposed projects to receive grants and/or low interest loans through ARRA.

 

"Congress passed the recovery bill to help jumpstart our economy in Maryland and across the country. The funds announced today will be critical in shoring up the needs of our aging water infrastructure system, creating jobs and investing in our future economic growth," said Senator Cardin, chairman of the Environment and Public Works Water and Wildlife Subcommittee . "Americans have a right to clean water flowing through their streams, rivers, and bays.   And we all have a right to clean, healthy drinking water.  In addition to helping secure Recovery Act funds, I am working to ensure passage of the Water Infrastructure Financing Act , which will provide a strong foundation for our nation's drinking water and wastewater infrastructure."

 

"Rebuilding our economy is our top priority, and the Recovery Act is the cornerstone of this effort. This legislation has made historic investments in our country, including improving drinking water and advancing clean water projects. The $121.6 million being presented to the Maryland Department of Environment today will allow the State to fund projects that will put Marylanders back to work, improve infrastructure, and protect the environment and public health," said Congressman Van Hollen. "The benefits of this investment will be felt here in suburban Maryland and across the State."

 

Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Shari T. Wilson, who received the EPA's check on behalf of the State of Maryland, said: "This much-needed funding will not only provide hundreds of jobs across our State, it will help safeguard our drinking water and accelerate our efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay."

 

Per ARRA, the Environmental Protection Agency will provide funding for grants and/or loans through MDE's existing Water Quality and Drinking Water Quality Revolving Loan Funds. In February 2009, just days after President Obama signed the recovery act into law, the MDE announced its anticipated ARRA funding and encouraged local jurisdictions to apply. In response, the Agency received an unprecedented number of requests for the ARRA funding; in February and March 2009, MDE received $3.7 billion in requests for drinking water/wastewater projects.

 

The proposed funds were allocated based on readiness to proceed, as well as maximum environmental and health benefits, and will benefit every region of the State. The list and a map of ARRA projects to be funded through the Water Quality and Drinking Water Revolving Loan Funds can be found at: www.mde.state.md.us

 

More information on Maryland's use of federal recovery funding can be found at recovery.maryland.gov.