Last Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it will provide grants to both New York and New Jersey to recover from damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, the storm that devastated the area on October 29, 2012.
$340 million will be awarded to New York and $229 million to New Jersey for improvements to wastewater and drinking water treatment facilities that were impacted by the storm. Many of these facilities were so badly damaged in the hurricane that they were unable to provide safe drinking water or to treat raw sewage. According to the EPA, the funding is designed to not only rebuild these facilities, but to “further reduce risks of flood damage and increase the resiliency of wastewater and drinking water facilities to withstand the effects of severe storms similar to Sandy”.
“With extreme weather conditions increasingly becoming the norm, Congress wisely provided funding to make sure our wastewater and drinking water facilities can withstand Hurricane Sandy-sized storms,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “This funding will help vulnerable communities in New Jersey and New York become more resilient to the effects of climate change.”
The funds will be allocated to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. The states will then select projects to receive the funds using a project priority ranking system based on the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund programs.
The EPA states that “The highest rankings will be given to proposed projects that will most ensure water quality or provide the most protection to drinking water systems. Applicants may submit projects that incorporate green infrastructure, such as wetlands and detention basins to collect stormwater or natural features like sand dunes that are capable of mitigating storm water impacts; raise equipment from basements; and provide backup sources of energy that are renewable”.
“As communities continue to recover following Hurricane Sandy’s devastation, it’s important that their efforts to rebuild our infrastructure such as wastewater and drinking water facilities are approached in a sustainable way,” said EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe. “These funds are another critical step in the administration’s ongoing effort to help New York and New Jersey recover and move forward in a way that ensures local communities are stronger than ever before”.
To learn more about the funding, click here.
To obtain guidance on the grant application process, click here.