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EGLE announces $23.3 million in MI Clean Water grants to help Michigan communities upgrade water infrastructure, protect health, environment

Water main replacement in Owosso and lead service line removals in Escanaba are among more than $23 million in state grants recently awarded to Michigan communities to protect public health and Michigan’s water resources.

The MI Clean Water Plan grants through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) 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 storm water 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.

“The common theme of these grants is helping ensure healthy drinking water and safeguarding our Great Lakes and streams,” said Phil Roos, EGLE director. “This funding will help communities accelerate critical projects like lead service line replacements and water distribution 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 Owosso for $1,622,500 - The project consists of water main replacement and pipe upsizing in the City of Owosso along North Dewey Street, Tracy Street, and West Stewart Street, with associated lead or galvanized steel service line replacement in accordance with the revised Michigan Lead and Copper Rule promulgated pursuant to the Safe Drinking Water Act, 1976 PA 399, as amended. Additionally, the project includes improvements to the gravity filters at the water treatment plant.
  • City of Escanaba for $20,000,000 - This project includes watermain replacement, lead service line replacement, and water tank upgrades in the City of Escanaba. In addition to facility upgrades to the South Water Tank and associated watermain work in the tank area, watermain replacement will take place in twelve distinct areas throughout the City of Escanaba, with a total watermain replacement of approximately 7,625 lineal feet, including replacement of inoperable valves and hydrants. The project will replace aging watermain and improve water flows and reliability throughout the system. An estimated 135 full lead service line replacements will take place along these new watermains in addition to approximately 605 lead service lines throughout the city.

Technical, Managerial and Financial grants:

Additionally, seven 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 a high volume vacuum to remove the soil from the excavation.

The seven recipients and their respective amounts:

  • Osceola Township, $176,000
  • Village of Calumet, $247,000
  • City of Houghton, $250,000
  • City of Frankfort, $268,786
  • Village of Lexington, $164,350
  • Crystal Falls Township, $200,785
  • City of Manton, $402,370

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 storm water 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 water 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, storm water, 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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