On Thursday Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that a total of $717 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and state funding has been awarded or approved for loan for 160 water projects throughout California to date – for the purpose of stimulating the California economy, saving and creating jobs and protecting public health and the environment.
Projects awarded funding or loans range from Del Norte County in the north to San Diego County and from the Pacific shore to the Nevada state line.
The Kelseyville district, managed by Lake County Special Districts, will receive approximately $3,775,108, the Governor's Office reported.
In Mendocino County, the Covelo Community Services District received $1.3 million for wastewater treatment plant improvements and $149,450 went to the Mendocino County Department of Transportation for a feasibility study on a low water crossing.
Napa County received more than $3.7 million, including $2.25 million for a water treatment plant in its Lake Berryessa Resort Improvement District and just over $977,000 for the Napa River's Rutherford reach restoration.
More than $3.9 million went to Sonoma County for well replacement and safe drinking water projects.
Other neighboring counties receiving funds include Colusa, which received $519,780 for reducing sediment and pesticides in runoff from the county's almond orchards, and Yolo County, where the city of Woodland will get $14.8 million for a water meter project.
Special Districts Administrator Mark Dellinger said the funds Lake County received will be used for improvements to hydraulic capacity at the Kelseyville wastewater treatment plant. Dellinger said the plant's treatment process also is being changed to an aerated lagoon system.
He said slightly more than half of the funds the county is receiving from the State Water Board has ARRA as their source.
The State Water Board manages $567.1 million of the total funding – of which $256 million is from the Recovery Act and $310 million from the Board’s ongoing Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF).
The State Water Board assists local communities in preventing and cleaning up water pollution. Its financial assistance concentrates on wastewater projects, treatment plants for water quality improvement projects, stormwater treatment and “green” projects such as wastewater recycling and low impact development.
Under the stimulus program, the State Water Board is handling $270.5 million in addition to more than $300 million normally loaned by the CWSRF each year. The Water Board approved the first Recovery Act project the same day that it received money from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The Water Board worked with local governments and others in advance of receiving Recovery Act to ensure their clean water projects were ready to begin work and qualify for Recovery Act money as quickly as possible.
“Rural areas, towns and cities are all critical to protecting water quality and all have been affected by the recession,” said Charles Hoppin, chair of the State Water Board.
He said many small towns have, historically, been unable to benefit from economies of scale and modernize the sewer plants that are critical to assuring water quality. “A portion of our grants and ultra-low interest loans this year is being used to keep water in such towns usable,” Hoppin said.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) manages $149.9 million of the total funding (all of which comes from the Recovery Act) through the Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF).
The DWSRF provides funding to correct public water system deficiencies prioritized to address public health risks, comply with requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act and address household affordability.
“These shovel-ready water system projects will significantly improve the drinking water infrastructure in California,” said Dr. Mark Horton, director of CDPH. “The projects are located throughout the state and will provide jobs to many local communities in addition to improving drinking water quality. This is another example of how we are maximizing federal stimulus dollars to benefit all Californians.”
The Recovery Act and State funds are targeted to projects in communities that might not normally be able to qualify for CWSRF or DWSRF loans. The funds are being granted or loaned at rates even lower than normally available.
Of the $567.1 million awarded from the CWSRF, $514.2 million is in the form of grants and ultra-low interest zero-and one-percent loans. Of the $150 million awarded from the DWSRF, $120 million is in the form of grants and $30 million in the form of low-interest loans.
Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .