BOSTON – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator David W. Cash celebrated significant federal and state infrastructure investments in the City of Fall River which will directly improve public health for city residents. Cash was joined by U.S. Senators Markey and Warren, and by U.S. Congressmen Auchincloss, along with City of Fall River Mayor Coogan and Massachusetts Environmental Protection Commissioner Suuberg to highlight coordinated efforts to identify and replace lead service lines, make other needed water infrastructure upgrades, and to celebrate the award of zero-emission electric school buses in the community. The amount and scope of the projects is thanks in large part to major investments made possible by the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).
“Thanks to unprecedented funding from Congress and the Biden Administration, EPA and our partners are making critical, forward-leaning investments to upgrade infrastructure and protect people’s health in Fall River,” said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. “These investments, from replacing diesel school buses with clean, zero-emission vehicles, to modernizing water infrastructure and removing lead from drinking water pipes, will provide tangible health benefits to this community for decades to come. Today’s announcement is evidence of EPA’s efforts to prioritize actions to protect public health and address environmental impacts in communities who have historically been left out of the conversation and overburdened by pollution. I am proud of this collaborative effort and the progress that we are making.”
Zero-Emission Clean School Buses
Under EPA’s Fiscal Year 2022 Clean School Bus Program rebate competition, Fall River will be given a rebate to offset the cost to purchase 11 clean school buses and charging infrastructure, worth up to $3,895,000, that will accelerate the transition to zero emissions vehicles and produce cleaner air in and around schools and communities. The Fall River award is among $29,570,000 being given to five school districts in Massachusetts this year. EPA’s investment in zero-emission school buses highlights how they will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save schools money, and better protect children’s health. The investment will also drive demand for American-made batteries and vehicles, boost domestic manufacturing, and create good-paying jobs. This funding is part of a national total of nearly $1 Billion made available nationally under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, aiding 389 school districts across the U.S., Tribes, and U.S. territories, and is resulting in the purchase of more than 2,400 clean school buses nationally.
Clean Water and Lead Service Line Replacements
EPA is highlighting several key clean water investments in the City of Fall River made possible by funding authorized by Congress under ARP, BIL and routine annual appropriations. Several projects will provide funding to identify and replace lead service lines for drinking water in the city. Under the “Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act” (WIIN Act), $10 million is being awarded to help the City of Fall River replace public and private lead pipes, which connect to homes. This funding will also help the City to comply with a settlement announced on Nov. 29, 2022 with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts requiring the municipality to remove lead service lines throughout the City following a lead action level exceedance. EPA is also awarding Fall River $100,000 to locate lead pipes and provide education about lead hazards in at risk neighborhoods.
EPA is also providing Fall River technical assistance to help communities identify infrastructure needs, plan for capital improvements, build capacity, support community outreach, and apply for funding for the range of eligible projects from various EPA programs and opportunities like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Massachusetts Clean Water Projects
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts also announced that under the 2022 allocation of the “State Revolving Fund,” which provides low-interest loans to municipal governments and other water pollution control authorities to make water infrastructure investments, Fall River will receive approximately $4 million in SRF loans to advance important projects such as the planning study for the combined sewer overflow (CSO) treatment facility, the construction of a new booster pumping station at the Wilson Road Pump Station, the Geobase mapping of the water distribution system with a $150,000 Asset Management Grant, and the development of the Lead Service Line Inventory and Revised Replacement Plan with a $750,000 loan that is expected to be fully forgiven once the project is completed. The Commonwealth has also allocated more than $9.4 million to fund electric school buses and changing stations in various communities across the state.
The historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is making a huge difference in EPA’s efforts to protect human health and the environment. Thanks to funding authorized in BIL, over the next five years EPA will be putting $60 billion into improving the health, equity, and resilience of communities in every corner of the country. Areas that BIL will make a dramatic difference include improving drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure, removing lead services lines, and protecting communities from emerging contaminants like PFAS. BIL will invest a historic $5.4 billion to clean up legacy pollution at Superfund and brownfields sites, helping to restore the economic vitality of communities. Finally, BIL is helping U.S. communities to make a $5 billion investment in electric and low-emission school buses and healthier air for children.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a once-in-a-generation investment that will create millions of jobs modernizing our infrastructure, turn the climate crisis into an opportunity, and put us on a path to win the economic competition for the 21st century.
What They Are Saying:
“I am proud to join the EPA’s effort to push for critical federal and state investments—from replacing lead pipelines to electrifying school buses—that strengthen the health of our gateway cities and underserved communities,” said Senator Edward J. Markey. “These investments to turn Fall River green reflect our deep commitment to helping uplift those who have been historically left behind and had to shoulder pollution and climate change’s catastrophic impacts. I will continue fighting for critical climate resiliency investments to ensure that the air we breathe and the water we drink is clean for future generations to come.”
“Investments in clean water infrastructure and electric school buses are essential to improve public health and protect the environment. I fought alongside lawmakers from Massachusetts to secure this federal funding in the American Rescue Plan Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and I’m delighted that Fall River is receiving these grants to invest in our communities,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren.
“This Congress has made historic investments in clean water, public safety, and transportation. Now we’re seeing those funds in action. Fall River residents win when we work together. I look forward to a continued partnership with the city as we make more vital improvements in the years ahead,” said Congressman Jake Auchincloss.
“The partnership between the federal government, the Commonwealth and the City of Fall River will result in significant public health and environmental benefits for the city and its residents as these important projects are implemented,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “These grants and low-interest loans will help to eliminate all lead service lines, address combined sewer overflows into local rivers, upgrade city drinking water infrastructure, and improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
“Thanks to the support of the EPA, the DEP and our tireless advocates at the federal and state level, we are able to continue making long-needed infrastructure improvements and creating a more sustainable school system,” said City of Fall River Mayor Paul Coogan. “These grants, plain and simple, ensure that generations of Fall River residents will grow up in a cleaner, healthier community. It was an honor to host our elected officials at Durfee High School as we celebrate this unprecedented investment in the City of Fall River.”
Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Investment in Clean Water Infrastructure
Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Investment in Clean School Buses