Funding Increases for Big Island Water Quality Projects
Four Big Island water system improvement projects will be completed as part of $10.36 million in federal funds released by the Hawai’i State Department of Health Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Program during the last half of 2015.
The overall funds will support infrastructure improvements in public water systems for all four counties and is more than the $7.67 million in disbursements previously targeted.
Along with the federal funds, as of Jan. 4, DOH made commitments to provide funding of over $32.7 million, which exceeds the interim target of $28.28 million.
Of the funds, over $4.1 million will go to improving the Laupahoehoe Reservoir, nearly $12.9 million will go towards the Waimea Water Treatment Plant microfiltration project, $823,420 will be provided to execute phase one of the Halaula well development project, and $3.2 million will go towards the improvement of the Ahualoa-Honokaa transmission waterline.
Congress appropriated the funds, as they do on an annual basis, administered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to provide grants to states in order to capitalize on low-interest loan programs for public water system infrastructure improvements. The funds, however, come with stipulations. Hawai’i was required to meet two interim requirements by Jan. 29. They were completed on Jan. 4.
“We must continually demonstrate our stewardship of the federal funds and account for how the funds are being used before we can receive additional funds,” said Joanna Seto, Safe Drinking Water Branch chief. “Our SRF team and County customers were all aware of the pending deadline and what was at stake. There was great teamwork and collaboration to meet the deadline.”
On Sept. 28, 2015, the EPA awarded DOH $688,000 and withheld just over $8 million in funds, pending DOH’s ability to meet specific targets by Jan. 29.
More than $201.5 million in low interest loans have been disbursed since the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan program began in 1997.
The Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which is also referred to as Hawai’i’s Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund, provides low-interest loans to Hawai’i’s four counties to construct high-priority wastewater, storm water, and non-point source water pollution projects. Since it began in 1991, the Clean Water State Revolving Fund has disbursed more than $705.8 million in low-interest loans.