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EPA Information Related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act)


EPA ARRA Results As of January 2012 

  • Nearly three years ago, on February 17, 2009, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). 
  • At the time of enactment of ARRA, states were struggling with the effects of one our country’s most significant economic downturns.  The Recovery Act provided a massive resource infusion to jumpstart our economy, create or save millions of jobs, and address long-standing challenges throughout the nation. 
  • Significantly, ARRA provided $7.2 billion for environmental programs which funded much needed clean water and drinking water infrastructure, implemented diesel emission reduction technologies, cleaned up leaking underground storage tanks, revitalized and reused Brownfields, and cleaned up Superfund sites.
  • ARRA implementation challenged EPA to balance administration of unprecedented levels of new resources, nearly double the Agency’s annual budget, while meeting aggressive implementation deadlines.  Under compressed schedules, EPA implemented complex requirements for recipient reporting, Davis-Bacon Act wage rates and Buy American provisions.   The agency obligated 100% of all appropriated resources within the first year and ensured over $6.0 B in Clean and Drinking Water SRF resources were under contract within one year of ARRA enactment. 
  • To date, the Agency has expended (outlayed) 91% of our ARRA resources which have produced demonstrable economic and environmental results.  Notable outcomes achieved through our ARRA investments include:

    • Putting people back to work - An average of nearly 8,600 jobs funded per quarter have been reported by recipients over the first ten reporting periods.

    • Improving Air Quality by Retrofitting Diesel Engines - Recovery Act funds have supported the retrofit or replacement of over 24,700 old diesel engines across the nation.   As a result, emissions of harmful carbon pollution have been reduced by over 672,400 tons and particulate matter has been reduced by 3,100 tons.  With these results, we are directly protecting people's health and environment.

    • Providing Job Training for Brownfields Cleanups - Funds have supported the training of residents of communities impacted by a variety of waste facilities, blighted properties, and contaminated sites for environmental jobs that may otherwise have been filled from outside the affected community. Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grants help residents take advantage of the jobs created by the management, assessment, cleanup, and revitalization of polluted waste sites in their communities.  Using Recovery Act funds these programs have trained over 1,300 community members and over 850 have been placed into full time green jobs in these fields with an average wage of over $15/hour.

    • Cleaning Up Our Communities - Recovery Act Brownfields cleanup investments have supported the assessment of nearly 640 properties, completion of 37 property cleanups and the revitalization of 99 properties ready for reuse.  These investments target under-served and economically-disadvantaged neighborhoods – places where environmental cleanups and new jobs are most needed.

    • Addressing Leaks at Underground Storage Tank Sites – Recovery Act funds have enabled EPA and its state and tribal partners to perform site assessment and cleanup work at over 6,468 underground storage tank sites throughout 54 states, territories and Indian country.  Of those, Recovery Act funds have achieved completion of 1,660 site assessments and 1,617 cleanups to health-based cleanup levels.  Clean up of these sites protects drinking water resources and restores contaminated land to conditions suitable for future use.  These cleanup and revitalization efforts remove community "eyesores" and provide opportunities for community redevelopment and job creation.

    • Protecting Public Health in Affected Communities - Recovery Act resources supported 61 Superfund Remedial cleanup projects at 51 sites across the United States. EPA is using the funds to treat or remove organic compounds, treat or remove heavy metals, treat drinking water, expand work on sites with contaminated sediments, and mitigate damage to wildlife habitat/ecosystems.  Many of these sites are located in industrial areas hardest hit by the recession.  By starting or accelerating cleanup at these Superfund sites, ARRA funding increased the speed with which these sites can be returned to productive use while also offering significant economic benefits to local communities including future job creation.

    • Providing Clean and Safe Drinking Water through Water Infrastructure Investment - 1,335 projects are under contract and 637 (47%) projects have fully completed construction. This work has enabled the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to return 693 drinking water systems across the nation to compliance with Safe Drinking Water Act standards. These systems serve over 48 million Americans who depend on clean and safe drinking water.  The Recovery Act has helped states reach national public health goals. 

    Additionally, 1,865 Clean Water State Revolving Fund CWSRF projects are under contract and 855 (46%) projects have completed construction.  ARRA Clean Water SRF projects around the country improve or maintain treatment levels at Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs), protect and restore aquatic life and wildlife, protect and restore primary contact recreation, and protect and restore fish and shellfish consumption.  These projects serve an estimated 78.8 million people nationwide.

    • Building a Green Economy - EPA ARRA investments not only contributed to infrastructure investment and job creation, but have also helped to develop a green economy.  A 20% green reserve requirement for SRF investments was easily achieved as recipients developed a wide array of water projects that improved energy use at plants, developed water recycling/reclamation approaches, demonstrated the use of natural processes to address urban runoff and conserved significant volumes of water resources by replacing old, leaking infrastructure.  In addition, EPA ARRA job training support helped develop skills for workers involved in future environmental cleanup – a legacy of our effort that will endure long after the completion of Recovery Act projects.  

  • These significant achievements have been achieved with few reportable instances of waste, fraud and abuse -- a direct reflection of thecareful stewardship and extraordinary program management exhibited by headquarters and regional program personnel.  
  • EPA is proud of the contributions our ARRA investments have made to the nation’s economy while also making a meaningful and measurable difference to the country’s environmental health.


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