The Environmental Protection Agency announced recently that they will provide over $500 million in grants and low-interest loans to the state of New York and state of New Jersey to improve wastewater and drinking water facilities ravaged by Hurricane Sandy. The funds will be awarded as grants to the states for both the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund programs. In addition to improving statewide clean water systems, the funds will provide 6,000 short-term construction jobs collectively.

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States will review proposed projects from impacted communities and submit intended use plans to the EPA for review. The public will have the opportunity to voice their comments on the intended use plans for a period of 30 days in New Jersey and 45 days in New York. Once the comment period has ended, the EPA will evaluate plans and award grants to the states.

Funds can be used to develop green infrastructure projects to improve storm runoff systems to prevent sewer systems from overflowing and wreaking havoc in local waterways. According to the news release, project submission plans can also include detention basins to collect stormwater or natural features like sand dunes that are capable of mitigating storm water impacts; raise equipment from basements; and provide backup sources of energy that are renewable. New York will receive $340 million of the funding and New Jersey will receive $229 million.

“As communities continue to recover following Hurricane Sandy’s devastation, it’s important that their efforts to rebuild our infrastructure such as wastewater and drinking water facilities are approached in a sustainable way,” said EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe. “These funds are another critical step in the administration’s ongoing effort to help New York and New Jersey recover and move forward in a way that ensures local communities are stronger than ever before.”