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EGLE announces $28.6 million in MI Clean Water grants to help Michigan communities upgrade water infrastructure, protect health, environment

Lead service line replacements in River Rouge and Ironwood, and water system improvements in villages, cities, and towns throughout the state are the goals of more than $28.6 million in state grants recently awarded to Michigan communities.

The MI Clean Water Plan grants through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF), the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF), the Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities Grant Program (EC-SDC), and support from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) aim to help communities upgrade aging infrastructure, 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.

“These grants span the state from the rural reaches of the Upper Peninsula to the urban areas of southern Lower Michigan. But their common theme is helping ensure healthy drinking water and safeguarding our Great Lakes and streams,” said Phil Roos, EGLE director. “This $28 million-plus will help 18 communities accelerate critical projects like lead service line replacements and sewer system rehabilitations. This support is an example of how EGLE and the Whitmer Administration are working to braid state, federal, and local resources to rebuild water infrastructure across the state.”

Grant roundup

Recent grants through the DWSRF:

  • City of River Rouge for $13,000,000 – River Rouge will replace approximately 2.13 miles of watermain that has exceeded its useful life and experienced multiple breaks. All four-inch watermain will be upsized to eight-inch watermain to improve flow throughout the system. Associated hydrants and a total of 77 valves that have exceeded their useful life will also be replaced. An estimated 246 lead service line replacements will occur along the watermain replacement routes. River Rouge will also replace an estimated 450 lead service lines throughout their distribution system. In total, an estimated 696 lead service lines will be replaced as part of this project. Additionally, the material type of approximately 235 service lines of unknown material will be identified during this project.
  • City of Ironwood for $11,021,000 – The project consists of replacement of approximately 15,300 feet of water main and associated lead and galvanized water service lines on both private and public property in the northwest area (Phase 5 of overall project) of the City of Ironwood. The project will also replace an additional estimated 40 lead service lines throughout the City of Ironwood.

Technical, Managerial and Financial grants:

Additionally, 16 water systems received grants for work in identifying or verifying lead service lines in preparation for replacement. The process to accomplish this effort includes hydrovacing on either side of each curb stop and performing in-building investigation to document service line materials. This project includes applicable restoration to original condition of hydrovaced locations. Hydrovacing involves a piece of equipment using high-pressure water to cut and liquefy the soil, while simultaneously using high volume vacuum to remove the soil from the excavation.

The 16 recipients and their respective amounts:

  • City of Harbor Beach for $138,720
  • City of St. Johns for $340,222
  • City of Reading for $267,245
  • Village of Bear Lake for $54,500
  • Bridgeport Charter Township for $600,000
  • Village of Dryden for $600,000
  • City of Gaastra for $167,250
  • Chassell Township for $153,770
  • City of Petoskey for $600,000
  • McMillan Township for $54,898
  • Rockland Township for $60,500
  • Village of Alpha for $59,000
  • Village of Ubly for $585,068
  • Village of L'Anse for $288,000
  • Village of Akron for $42,200
  • Buena Vista Charter Township for $597,850


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. 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: 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. 

Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities Grant Program: Provides states and territories with grants to public water systems in small or disadvantaged communities to address emerging contaminants, including PFAS. 

Technical, Managerial, and Financial Grants: Funds for work related to the physical verification of service lines at properties where lead is suspected but not confirmed or where service line material is unknown but likely contains lead.


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.