US to bring “vital” wastewater services to underserved rural areas

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said Tuesday they are launching a $12 billion initiative aimed at improving the nation’s wastewater infrastructure, with a focus on aiding underserved communities.

The “Closing America’s Wastewater Access Gap Community Initiative” will make use of $11.7 billion in loans and grants through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for projects that will start in several small towns, rural areas and on Tribal lands in six states.

More than two million people in the United States live without running water and basic indoor plumbing, according to a report by the US Water Alliance. Properly collecting and treating wastewater is essential to providing clean water and maintaining public health. But a lack of working wastewater management systems can expose humans to harmful sewage and the environment to nutrient pollution.