EPA to Spend $5.8 Billion on Clean Drinking Water

The Biden administration and the Environmental Protection Agency have announced $5.8 billion in funding for clean water infrastructure.

Over nine million homes, daycares, and businesses in the United States receive their water through a toxic lead pipe. Additionally, tens of millions of Americans lack access to safe drinking water and sanitation, with low-income and underserved communities being disproportionately affected.

The funding comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which foresees spending $50 billion to upgrade America’s water infrastructure.

Over $3.2 billion will be allocated to states and territories to implement a wide range of drinking water projects, including upgrades to water treatment plants, water distribution and piping systems, PFAS treatment, and lead pipe replacement.

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, is a large group of synthetic chemicals commonly found in drinking water systems. The toxic “forever chemicals” build up in our bodies, increasing the risk of pregnancy complications, infertility, and some cancers, among others. More than 200 million Americans have drinking water PFAS that exceeds safe levels.

Meanwhile, high exposure to lead through pipes is especially dangerous to children, as it can damage the brain and nervous system, as well as slow growth and development. In adults, the risks of lead poisoning include high blood pressure, memory and concentration difficulties, and harm to reproductive health.

Another $2.6 billion through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund will be spent on improving wastewater, sanitation, and stormwater infrastructure.

Speaking in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, Vice President Kamala Harris said that the right to clean water is under threat for many Americans.

Harris said, “Every person should have a right and the ability to have access to clean water, and it should not matter where you live or how much money you earn or how much money you’ve got in your back pocket.”

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