BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $18.2 million to the State of Rhode Island to help finance improvements to water projects that are essential to protecting public health and the environment. The funds will be primarily used to upgrade sewage plants and drinking water systems, as well as replacing aging infrastructure, throughout the state. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) program, administrated by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank (RIIB), received $9.4 million. EPA’s funding provides low-interest loans for water quality protection projects to make improvements to wastewater treatment systems, control pollution from stormwater runoff, and protect sensitive water bodies and estuaries. The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) program, administrated by the Rhode Island Department of Health (DOH) and RIIB, received $8.8 million. EPA’s funding provides low-interest loans to finance improvements to drinking water systems, with a particular focus on providing funds to small and disadvantaged communities and to programs that encourage pollution prevention as a tool for ensuring safe drinking water. “This funding will pay for projects that improve water quality and protect drinking water across Rhode Island, and will provide benefits for decades to come,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Clean drinking water and proper wastewater treatment are fundamental to protecting people’s health, but aging water infrastructure needs to be upgraded and repaired. EPA’s funding will help continue Rhode Island’s program to invest in drinking water and wastewater systems and protect people’s health.” “Clean water is essential to our families’ health, our economy, and our way of life in Rhode Island,” said DEM Director Janet Coit. “By continuing to make strategic investments in our water infrastructure, we have water to drink, a cleaner Bay to swim in, and a healthier environment to pass down to our children. We are making good progress in improving water quality and upgrading aging infrastructure throughout the state, but more remains to be done. We thank EPA for its continued partnership and support; this additional funding will go a long way in helping Rhode Island communities make critical improvements to their facilities and better protect our precious natural resources.” “Rhode Island is a stronger state because of our robust partnership with the EPA,” said Joseph Dewhirst, Interim Executive Director of the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank. “Working with Rhode Island’s Department of Environmental Management and Department of Health, the Infrastructure Bank will leverage the EPA’s significant investment to lend municipalities more than $65 million in low-cost loans for water infrastructure projects. These key investments in our infrastructure will stimulate economic growth, further improve Rhode Island’s drinking water quality, and protect our environment for generations to come.” Since the beginning of this program, EPA has awarded approximately $443 million to Rhode Island for the construction, expansion and upgrading of clean water infrastructure resulting in decreased pollutant loadings to waterbodies throughout the state. As communities develop and climate patterns shift, water infrastructure needs are expected to grow. Green infrastructure is a cost-effective and resilient approach to water infrastructure needs that provides benefits to communities across the nation.