News Briefs: Michigan Governor Announces Big Investment Into Water Infrastructure

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, a contractor working in Jerome, Idaho, is flown to a hospital after falling off a ladder into an empty tank at a wastewater treatment facility

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently announced MI Clean Water — a $500 million comprehensive water infrastructure investment in Michigan’s water systems from source to tap. The MI Clean Water plan marks a significant investment after decades of underinvestment in Michigan’s infrastructure. 

“The MI Clean Water investment will help us rebuild Michigan’s water infrastructure and will prioritize and invest directly into protecting our public health, environment, and economy,” Whitmer said in a statement. “The MI Clean Water Plan is a critical part of the solution, but the work cannot stop here. I look forward to working with the Legislature to find creative solutions to address our water infrastructure backlog. Everyone must remain committed to ensuring that every Michigander has access to clean water.”

The investment includes a proposal combining federal dollars for lead service line replacement in low-income communities ($102.1 million) with bonding authority for water quality protection ($290 million), one-time General Fund appropriation for drinking water infrastructure and innovation ($105 million), and asset management grants ($2.9 million) to help communities develop, update and improve their plans for wastewater and stormwater systems resulting in a comprehensive water infrastructure investment of $500 million in Michigan’s water systems. The MI Clean Water investment will be done without raising the taxes of Michiganders, according to Whitmer.

Contractor Hospitalized After Falling Off WWTP Ladder

A contractor working in Jerome, Idaho, was flown to a Boise hospital after falling into an empty tank at the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

According to the fire chief, the contractor fell 20-25 feet off a ladder. His condition at the time of the report by KMTV News was not known.

Hundreds of Students Quarantined in Colorado After Tests Find COVID-19

Newsweek recently reported that around 900 students in two dorm facilities at Colorado State University were quarantined after wastewater testing revealed a high level of COVID-19.

“Because of this, we are placing the entire residence hall into a mandatory quarantine,” reads a statement by the university’s Pandemic Preparedness Team. “This means that you should not leave your residence hall for any reason, beginning immediately.”

As wastewater testing for COVID-19 continues to become more widespread at schools and municipalities, a number of similar stories to this one have emerged in recent weeks.

EPA Announces WIFIA Loans in California and Utah

In other news, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced two new Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loans at events in Oceanside, California and Salt Lake City, Utah. EPA’s 27th and 28th WIFIA loans will provide more than $415 million to help the local communities finance important water infrastructure projects — supporting an innovative water reuse project in Oceanside and improving water quality and system resiliency in Salt Lake City.


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