Leahy, Joined By EPA In Vermont, Highlights Funding Under The Newly Enacted Infrastructure Law For Lake Champlain And For Water And Wastewater Investments

(FRIDAY, Feb. 25, 2022) — U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) was in Burlington Thursday to highlight funding for Lake Champlain and water and wastewater infrastructure in the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act (IIJA).

With $55 billion in funding for water quality, the IIJA is the single largest investment in water in the nation’s history. Included in that funding is $40 million over the next five years for the Lake Champlain Program, $8 million per year.  This money will enable the Lake Champlain Basin Program to take on more and larger projects to address excess phosphorous and other threats to the lake.  It is in addition to the funding in the federal government’s annual appropriations bills.  Leahy chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The IIJA makes significant investments in drinking water and wastewater infrastructure which will quadruple the amount of money in the state’s water and wastewater revolving loan funds.  Those funds provide grants and low interest loans to Vermont’s municipalities for public drinking water and wastewater systems that are crucial for realizing the Vermont’s vision of compact, smart growth and providing the infrastructure to support housing and businesses in downtowns and growth centers.  In 2022 Vermont will be receiving $63,041,000 of these clean water and drinking water funds, in addition to its standard annual allocation of $15.8 million, bringing Vermont’s clean water and drinking water funding for 2022 to nearly $80 million.  Of these, $28.3 million are allocated for lead service line replacements and about $8 million will go to address newly emerging contaminants such as PFAS.   These numbers are set to increase in each of the next 4 years.

Leahy said:  “This funding ensures the work to improve water quality in Lake Champlain will continue over the next five years and that the Lake Champlain Basin Program will continue its exemplary leading and coordinating efforts to protect our great lake.  Equally important is the funding for water and wastewater infrastructure, which will allow communities all across Vermont to protect their drinking water and manage waste in a manner that protects our waterways.”

EPA Deputy Administrator McCabe said:  “The Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act is the single largest investment in water that the federal government has ever made. EPA is thrilled that the Act is able to dedicate $40 million to protecting Lake Champlain — a treasured resource for Vermonters and tourists alike.  Together with our partners across the Basin, we will be able to make real progress reducing phosphorus, protecting the lake from the dangerous impacts of a changing climate, and providing critical public health and environmental protections to all communities across the Basin for generations to come.”

Vermont Secretary of Natural Resources Julie Moore said:  “These federal funding programs will support transformational investments in Vermont communities with a lasting benefit on Vermont’s environment.  We are eager and ready to move these unprecedented funds out to Vermont municipalities, contractors and partner organizations to implement tangible projects on the ground.  We are incredibly grateful for Senator Leahy’s efforts.”

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said:  “Thank you Senator Leahy for your ongoing advocacy for Vermonters to secure these critical funds for water infrastructure. Like many cities across the country, Burlington has aging water infrastructure in need of investment. We would not be able to make these needed investments without the strong support of federal dollars and partnerships with the State.  The bipartisan infrastructure bill has the chance to be a critical building block for Burlington’s future to do our part to protect Lake Champlain.  Thanks to this bill, Burlington is positioned to leverage millions of dollars of support to continue addressing our City’s water and wastewater infrastructure needs efficiently and cost-effectively.” 

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