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EGLE announces $10.8 million in MI Clean Water grants to help communities upgrade water infrastructure, protect health & environment

Upgrades to Beulah’s wastewater plant, disposal of PFAS-contaminated biosolids at K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base and removal of contaminated soils from a lagoon in Grand Rapids are among $10.8 million in Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) grants recently awarded to Michigan communities.

The MI Clean Water Plan grants, through EGLE’s Substantial Public Health Risk Project Program (SPHRPP) and Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) aim to help communities upgrade aging infrastructure to ensure healthy drinking water and protect Michigan’s environment.

Seventy percent of Michiganders are served by more than 1,000 community wastewater systems and a similar percentage get drinking water from community water systems. Those systems often struggle to find resources to address legacy issues like aging drinking water and stormwater facilities and emerging challenges like new standards for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) “forever chemicals.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the Michigan Legislature, and federal agencies have ramped up funding for aging water infrastructure – a critical move to help ensure those water systems continue to protect public health and the environment, including Michigan’s unmatched freshwater resources.

More than half of EGLE’s budget has traditionally passed through to Michigan cities, towns, villages, and other local government agencies to finance critical improvements that help them better protect residents and our natural resources.

Grant roundup

Recent grants through the SPHRPP

  • Village of Beulah, $2 million for critical upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant, including a new headworks building, a new moving bed bioreactor system, tertiary filtering, a new center pivot spray irrigation system, and proper lagoon abandonment.
  • Marquette County (K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base), $1,289,828 for purchase and installation of equipment that will support infrastructure to treat for eventual disposal of biosolids contaminated with PFAS, which are currently stored on site. The work will help the Air Force base transition away from the land application of biosolids toward consolidating the biosolids and transporting them to a landfill for disposal.

Recent grants through the CWSRF

  • City of Grand Rapids, $7.5 million for the remediation of contaminated soils at the Ash Lagoon, and reconfiguration of the wastewater treatment plant stormwater system to address first-flush contamination into the Grand River.

Descriptions of funding sources

  • Drinking Water State Revolving Fund: Low-interest loan program to help 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. 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. American Rescue Plan Act (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.
    • ARPA funded grants awarded this fiscal year: $218,398,719.
  • Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF): 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 nonpoint sources of water pollution caused by things like agricultural runoff to lakes, streams, and wetlands. As with the DWSRF, ARPA funds can be used in conjunction with CWSRF loan dollars, thereby reducing the debt communities pay for infrastructure improvements.
    • ARPA-funded grants awarded this fiscal year: $137,982,009.
  • Drinking Water Asset Management Program: Provides grant funding to assist drinking water suppliers with asset management plan development and updates, and/or distribution system materials inventories as defined in Michigan’s revised Lead and Copper Rule.
    • Awarded this fiscal year: $19,695,817.
  • Consolidation and Contamination Risk Reduction Program: Established to aid drinking water systems to help remove or reduce PFAS or other contaminants.
    • Awarded this fiscal year: $20,336,215.
  • Substantial Public Health Risk Project Program: Protects public and environmental health by removing direct and continuous discharges of wastewater from surface or groundwater.
    • Awarded this fiscal year: $8,000,000.

Additional Background

  • Since January 2019 the State of Michigan has invested over $4 billion to upgrade drinking water, stormwater, and wastewater facilities across the state, supporting over 57,000 jobs.
  • In 2022, Governor Whitmer signed a package of bills to help communities access funding for water infrastructure.

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