Gov. Evers, DNR Announce $402 Million to Improve Drinking Water Quality for Wisconsinites
FOR THE WAUSAU TIMES
MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers, together with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), today announced more than $402 million has been allocated for financial assistance through the Safe Drinking Water Loan Program (SDWLP) to 106 municipalities to improve drinking water quality for Wisconsinites. The funding will help municipalities across the state construct needed water infrastructure projects, including replacing lead service lines and addressing emerging contaminants such as per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), with a special focus on small and disadvantaged communities.
“Since Day One, my administration has been working to ensure that every Wisconsinite, no matter their ZIP code, has access to clean, healthy, and safe drinking water and can trust the water coming from their tap,” said Gov. Evers. “This funding continues our commitment and will help accelerate our progress on lead service line replacement and addressing PFAS and other contaminants in drinking water systems in communities across the state.”
There are more than 167,000 known lead service lines throughout the state, and this funding will help municipalities continue their efforts toward the goal of replacing the remaining lead service lines. Wisconsin has been a national leader in providing funding to replace lead service lines and was the first state to utilize SDWLP funds for this purpose.
Examples of preliminarily approved projects include:
The city of Milwaukee is receiving more than $30 million in Lead Service Line Replacement funding, of which $17,104,535 will be in the form of principal forgiveness, with the remainder through a loan with a .25 percent interest rate.
The city of Wausau is receiving more than $17 million in Emerging Contaminant funding, of which $5,100,000 is principal forgiveness, and the remaining $12.3 million will be available at a subsidized interest rate. The funding will be used to reduce concentrations of PFAS in Wausau’s drinking water. This will be achieved by constructing a long-term PFAS removal treatment system at the city’s new drinking water treatment facility. The city of Wausau is also receiving $5,790,028 in Lead Service Line Replacement funding, of which $3,641,078 will be in the form of principal forgiveness, with the remainder through a loan with a .25 percent interest rate.
The village of Reedsville is receiving more than $3 million in SDWLP funding, of which $639,275 is principal forgiveness, and the remaining $2.5 million will be available at a subsidized interest rate. Reedsville will use the funding for a project to add ion exchange treatment to address recent nitrate exceedances, along with making upgrades at the well to other aging equipment.
The money will be awarded to municipalities over the next year and disbursed as eligible costs are incurred. The funding comes from a combination of the DNR’s SDWLP ($276.7 million), Supplemental Drinking Water Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) funding ($24.9 million), Emerging Contaminant (PFAS) Drinking Water BIL funding ($26.6 million), and the Lead Service Line Replacement BIL Funding ($74.1 million).
A preliminary funding list that will be finalized following a 30-day window for municipalities to request a reevaluation of their priority score is available here.
The SDWLP provides affordable financial assistance to municipalities throughout Wisconsin for drinking water infrastructure projects that protect and improve public health for current and future generations. Since the program began in 1998, the DNR and the Wisconsin Department of Administration have provided over $900 million in financial assistance to Wisconsin municipalities. Additional information about the SDWLP can be found online here.