U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) encouraged communities across California to apply for newly announced federal funding to address emerging contaminants, like Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in drinking water. The $2 billion allocation is being made available through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which Padilla voted to pass and drafted as a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The funds will be distributed to each state through EPA’s Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities (EC-SDC) Grant Program and made available to communities as grants and will promote access to safe and clean water in small, rural, and disadvantaged communities while supporting local economies.
“Toxic PFAS chemicals are polluting our air, our food, and our water, especially in our rural and more poorly resourced areas,” said Senator Padilla. “As the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law continues to deliver for Americans, I encourage California communities to apply for these funds that can help us remove harmful PFAS chemicals and build healthier, more prosperous communities.”
“Too many American communities, especially those that are small, rural, or underserved, are suffering from exposure to PFAS and other harmful contaminants in their drinking water,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Thanks to President Biden’s leadership, we are investing in America and providing billions of dollars to strengthen our nation’s water infrastructure while safeguarding people’s health and boosting local economies. These grants build on EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap and will help protect our smallest and most vulnerable communities from these persistent and dangerous chemicals.”
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is investing $10 billion over five years to help communities address PFAS in drinking water, with $5 billion being distributed through the State Revolving Loan Funds and $5 billion through the EC-SDC Grant Program. This initial allotment of $2 billion through EC-SDC can be used to prioritize infrastructure and source water treatment for pollutants, like PFAS and other emerging contaminants, and to conduct water quality testing.
EPA is also releasing the Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities Grant Implementation document. The implementation document provides states and communities with the information necessary to use this funding to address local water quality and public health challenges. These grants will enable communities to improve local water infrastructure and reduce emerging contaminants in drinking water by implementing solutions such as installing necessary treatment solutions.
Padilla has been active in addressing PFAS contamination in California and across the country. He introduced the Clean Water for Military Families Act, which would require the Department of Defense to conduct investigations and remediate PFAS contamination within and surrounding DOD installations in the U.S. and state-owned National Guard facilities. He also introduced the Prevent Release of Toxics Emissions, Contamination, and Transfer Act, or the PROTECT Act to add certain PFAS chemicals to the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs), thereby requiring their regulation under the Clean Air Act.
For more information about the grants, visit EPA’s website here.