University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Receives $1.8 Million Grant to Improve Public Water Systems
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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Receives $1.8 Million Grant to Improve Public Water Systems

The grant is meant to help small drinking water and wastewater systems and private well owners

January 18, 2017

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has received a $1.8 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to improve the financial and managerial capabilities of small public water systems nationwide.

The EPA is awarding $12.7 million in grants to four grantees across the country. These grants are meant to help the owners of small drinking water and wastewater systems and private wells. Training and technical help will be given to water systems staff members to help them improve their operations and management practices, promote the sustainability of their systems, and protect public health and the environment better.

"Ensuring safe drinking water for all Americans, whether they live in a small town or a big city, is a priority for EPA and these grants will help smaller systems in communities across the country," said Joel Beauvais, deputy assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Water.

The other grantees include the National Rural Water Association and the Rural Community Assistance Partnership.

There are 157,000 public water systems in the U.S. More than 97 percent of these serve fewer than 10,000 people, and more than 80 percent serve fewer than 500 people. There are unique challenges posed to small systems in providing drinking water and wastewater services that are both reliable and that meet federal and state regulations. Such difficulties may involve few financial resources, infrastructure that is growing old, and high levels of staff turnover.

The EPA has granted $95 million in technical assistance since 2009 to help the owners of small drinking water and wastewater systems and private wells.