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EPA Offers Financial Assistance for Communities with Drinking Water Systems Not Serviced by the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority

Release Date: 02/26/2007
Contact Information: Brenda Reyes, (787) 977-5869,

(San Juan, P.R.) The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is offering up to $75,000 to nonprofit organizations to improve and protect local drinking water supplies as part of an Agency program called Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving. The Agency expects to fund two projects in Puerto Rico. Only community-based organizations that are non-governmental, not-for-profit organizations located in an affected community are eligible for this program and applications will be accepted until April 13, 2007.

“Everyone deserves the same level of environmental protection,” said Alan J. Steinberg, Regional Administrator. “EPA is delighted to offer this chance for community members to collaborate on ways to protect their drinking water. These environmental justice grants are designated for rural communities that depend on vulnerable water supply systems that are not connected to Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority.”

Puerto Rico has many communities that do not receive drinking water from the island’s primary supplier, the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA). Instead, these communities are serviced by small drinking water systems. There are approximately 240 small drinking water systems in rural Puerto Rican communities, serving an estimated population of 300,000. However, such small drinking water systems find it difficult to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act because of the lack of adequate financial and technical resources. These environmental and human health concerns are aggravated by human activities such as improper disposal of household chemicals, litter and the release of bacteria from livestock and human waste to water sources.

The projects awarded under this financial assistance program must use the collaborative problem-solving approach to assist communities in: (1) ensuring safe drinking water for residents; and (2) reducing the adverse impacts of drinking water contamination on human health. Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving program requires selected applicants, or recipients, to use the Problem-Solving Model as part of their projects. Collaborative problem-solving means that various stakeholders agree to work together to address a particular issue or concern and come up with mutually beneficial solutions or goals.

Assistance under this program is available to: (1) 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations as designated by the Internal Revenue Service; or (2) non-profit organizations recognized by the state, territory, commonwealth, or tribe in which they are located so that they can address local environmental and/or public health issues. Non-profit organizations described in Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code that engage in lobbying activities are not eligible to apply.

More information on eligibility and application instructions is available:

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