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EGLE awards ARPA funding to Michigan communities
February 13, 2023
Communities throughout Michigan will benefit from improved water infrastructure thanks to billions of dollars of federal funding distributed to the state last year under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
The ARPA funding is being awarded to municipalities by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) mainly through existing programs. Several million dollars have already been distributed to communities with nearly half a billion dollars expected to be awarded in 2023.
The ARPA funding addresses critical needs in both drinking water and wastewater systems across Michigan and the nation. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that more than $470 billion will be needed over the next two decades to adequately address drinking water needs alone.
Michigan’s needs are substantial. The state’s drinking water and wastewater infrastructure earned grades of D and D-minus from a recent report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The ARPA funding includes:
Drinking Water State Revolving Fund
EGLE’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) is a low interest loan program designed to assist public water systems finance the costs of replacement and repair of drinking water infrastructure to protect public health and achieve or maintain compliance with federal Safe Drinking Water Act requirements.
Long-neglected water infrastructure is being addressed throughout Michigan with federal, state and local support to upgrade water treatment systems, replace lead service lines and more.
The DWSRF provides loans to water systems for eligible infrastructure projects. As water systems repay their loans, the repayments and interest flow back into the DWSRF to support new loans. ARPA funding operates as a grant and may be used in combination with loan dollars to reduce the financial burden on communities to pay for capital improvement debt.
To-date EGLE has awarded over $32 million in ARP grants to nine communities and anticipates awarding upwards of an additional $210 million.
Clean Water State Revolving Fund
Another EGLE low interest loan financing program, the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) is used by local municipalities to finance construction of water pollution control projects. These projects include wastewater treatment plant upgrades and expansions, combined or sanitary sewer overflow abatement, new sewers designed to reduce existing sources of pollution, and other publicly owned wastewater treatment efforts that improve water quality. The CWSRF can also finance stormwater infrastructure projects to reduce non-point sources of water pollution caused by things like agricultural run-off to lakes, streams, and wetlands.
Clean water/wastewater pipe installation showing primary clarifier improvements.
Like DWSRF, ARPA funds can be used in conjunction with CWSRF loan dollars thereby reducing the debt communities pay for infrastructure improvements.
To date, EGLE has awarded $22.9 million in ARPA dollars for wastewater improvements to six municipalities with another $150 million anticipated this summer.
Drinking Water Asset Management Program
EGLE’s Drinking Water Asset Management Program (DWAM) is a grant program aimed at assisting drinking water supplies with asset management plan development and distribution system material inventories as defined in Michigan's revised Lead and Copper Rule which is designed to identify the location of lead water service lines needing replacement.
In 2022, the influx of ARPA dollars expanded this grant program by an additional $20 million. To date EGLE has awarded $7.4 million of these ARPA funds to 19 communities.
Consolidation and Contamination Risk Reduction Program
Addressing environmental contaminants impacting drinking water systems is the focus of EGLE’s Consolidation and Contamination Risk Reduction Program (C2R2). Grants from this program are designed to help drinking water systems tackle contaminants like per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). An additional $18 million in ARPA dollars was allocated to expand this existing successful program. EGLE has already awarded $nearly $13 million of the ARPA dollars with 9.7 million granted to Oscoda which is home to the former Wurtsmith Air Force base.
Substantial Public Health Risk Project (SPHRP) Program
Targeting water pollution at its source is the role of EGLE’s Substantial Public Health Risk Program (SPHRP). This grant program aims to protect the public and environment by removing direct, continuous discharges of wastewater from sources like failing sewerage systems.
There is currently $20 million available in the SPHRP program and EGLE has awarded $2 million in funding to the City of Crystal Falls.