News Briefs: Planned Burns by Forest Service Affecting Water in New Mexico

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, disastrous flooding in Kentucky has killed at least 37 people and has damaged water utilities across the state

Contaminated water flowing from the Gallinas River due to a burn scar recently resulted in Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham declaring an emergency in Las Vegas, New Mexico.

The governor made $2.25 million in emergency funding available to the city to assist it with buying a pre-treatment system to filter the turbid, contaminated water.

The emergency declaration came shortly after utility leaders announced the city only had 50 days of clean water left.

"The destruction that continues to befall New Mexico communities affected by the U.S. Forest Service planned burns from earlier this year is unfathomable," Lujan Grisham said in a statement, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican. "New Mexicans in San Miguel County have been through enough — we will continue to do everything we can to support them and prevent additional damage as a result of the wildfires."

Devastating Floods Damage Water Utilities in Kentucky

Disastrous flooding in Kentucky has killed at least 37 people and has damaged water utilities across the state.

"These are proud, hardworking folks that have just lost it all, and I think the least we can do as human beings, as people of values, is to give and do what we can to get them back on their feet," said Gov. Andy Beshear, according to ABC News.

As of Aug. 3, with high temperatures making their way into the region, water outages numbered over 1,800 connections with more than 45,000 under boil-water advisories. Beshear said the most essential relief was to get water to citizens, and the National Guard had delivered more than 2,400 cases of water at the time of the governor’s press conference.

EPA Announces $29 Million for San Francisco Bay Watershed Restoration Grants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is accepting applications for approximately $29 million in grants, the largest annual allocation ever, to protect and restore San Francisco Bay watersheds and wetlands. The agency is announcing two separate funding opportunities with a due date for applications of Sept. 20.

“Among our nation’s iconic bodies of water, the San Francisco Bay stands out not only for its unique beauty and striking vistas, but for the tremendous environmental and economic benefits it brings to California and the United States,” says EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “These federal grants provide critical funding to support climate resiliency and safeguard wetlands throughout the Bay Area, especially in communities that have been bearing greater pollution burdens.”

USDA-EPA Partnership to Provide Wastewater Sanitation to Underserved Communities

At a recent event in Lowndes County, Alabama, where a significant number of residents lack access to wastewater infrastructure, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the Closing America’s Wastewater Access Gap Community Initiative. 

The new initiative will be piloted in 11 communities across the country where residents lack basic wastewater management that is essential to protecting their health and the environment. The EPA and USDA will jointly leverage technical assistance resources to help historically underserved communities identify and pursue federal funding opportunities – including from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – to address their wastewater needs and eliminate harmful exposure to backyard sewage. Read more about the initiative here.



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