Jeff Fuentes Gleghorn
Governor Wolf recently announced $199 million to improve drinking water and sewage treatment in Pennsylvania. The money for these loans comes from several sources, including federal grants and state funds approved by voters. The current investment will set the Commonwealth up to make use of the extra federal funding for water infrastructure that will be available over the next few years. Governor Wolf said that “As we prepare for much-needed increases in federal and state resources for clean water infrastructure over the next several years, these projects will pave the way for successful growth and revitalization.”
Pennsylvania will receive $1.4 billion over five years from President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to improve water infrastructure and ensure clean drinking water is available to everyone in the state. These investments come on the heels of several reports that show the problems Pennsylvanian water systems are facing. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) grades each state on 18 categories, and the Commonwealth received a D or lower in drinking water, wastewater management, storm water, and protecting inland waterways. In February of this year, the Pennsylvania Environment Center released a report finding that 98% of Philadelphia public schools had at least one water tap contaminated by lead, highlighting the need for repairs to drinking water.
Luzerne County received a total of $5.8 million in loans. The money will be used to upgrade the Hazleton City Authority water system, restoring reliable drinking water to major portions of the area and modernizing a currently unusable pump station. A portion of the funds will also be used to create a manure storage tank and transfer system on the Kevin Drasher farm, which will reduce its impact on the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Governor Wolf appears committed to resolving the problem of Pennsylvania’s water infrastructure, referring to it as “our most precious infrastructure.” He says he is “proud to be part of a successful system that provides efficient support while saving Pennsylvanians money.”