The Keyes Community Services District (KCSD) leaders are rejoicing at the news of being awarded $10.4 million in State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan forgiveness funding to install equipment to continue providing water to customers.
The money is coming from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the State of California for water infrastructure improvements under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). California has been awarded more than $609 million in capitalization grants through the State Revolving Funds (SRFs) to supplement the state’s annual base SRF funding of $144 million.
In Keyes’ case, the millions will allow the installation of a granular activated carbon filtration system at four wells to filter out 1,2,3-Trichloropropane.
“Just over five years ago, our community was confronting a failing drinking water system,” said Ernest Garza, general manager of the Keyes Community Service District. “But with assistance through the State Revolving Fund, we were able to consolidate multiple smaller systems, insert a treatment system for arsenic, and afford the system’s long-term operation and maintenance. And now, again with SRF assistance through a $10 million grant, we are adding a filtration system to capture 1,2,3-Trichloropropane.”
He said without the grant the cost would have been “prohibitive” and forced KCSD to increase “rates beyond what our community could bear.
“Without these grants, we would not be able to provide safe drinking water to our customers.”
The grants are intended to help small, disadvantaged communities like Keyes, which is about 75 percent low-income.
The capitalization grants mark the first significant distribution of water infrastructure investments to California following passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The BIL allocates more than $50 billion toward repairing the nation’s essential water infrastructure, in turn helping communities to access clean, safe and reliable drinking water, prevent flooding, collect and treat wastewater to protect public health, and safeguard vital waterways.
“With the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, nearly half of the additional State Revolving Funds will now be grants or fully forgivable loans,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman, “making access to these critical water resources easier for small, rural, and disadvantaged communities such as the community in Keyes.”
The State Water Resources Control Board is the administrator of the state’s Clean Water and Drinking Water SRF programs, providing communities a permanent, independent source of low-cost financing for a wide range of water quality infrastructure projects.