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Release Date: 9/29/1998
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith (215) 814-5543 & Felicia Dailey (215) 814-5524 September 29, 1998

PHILADELPHIA - The United States Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $13.9 million to the Commonwealth of Virginia to improve drinking water systems and protect drinking water supplies.  The state will contribute $2.7 million
of matching funds.

"Our country has one of the best supplies of safe, clean drinking water in the world.  This grant is an important step in keeping the Virginia drinking water healthy," said W. Michael McCabe EPA Regional Administrator.

The grant was awarded to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).  VDH will use $11.9 million for loans to 14 communities to improve local drinking water systems.  Specific improvements and construction will improve:

* water distribution lines
* treatment facilities
* storage facilities

Virginia’s Department of Health manages the revolving loan program and selects projects based on environmental, public health and technical merit.   For information
on the proposed community projects, you can contact Allen Hammer at 804-371-2885.

Two million dollars will be loaned to the Coalfield Water Development Fund (CWDF).  The CWDF will invest the proceeds and use the investment earnings to make grants available to communities in southwestern Virginia to finance drinking water facilities.

In addition the state will use $2.7 million to:

* manage the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund;

* provide technical assistance to small water systems;

* encourage state prevention programs such as source water protection operator certification and capacity development to ensure the technical financial and managerial integrity of water supply systems.

The grant is from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, authorized by the 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act.  The fund helps ensure that the nation’s drinking water supplies remain safe and affordable and are properly operated and maintained.