Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Agriculture announced an initiative providing technical assistance and funding for much-needed wastewater sanitation infrastructure projects. The funding is targeted for 11 southern and Appalachian communities that have for years faced wastewater, sanitation, and septic issues.
Failing septic systems and lack of any wastewater disposal systems is a human rights crisis afflicting communities throughout the country, from coast to coast, in rural and urban areas alike. At least 2 million Americans do not have a toilet, tub, shower, or running water. And some 48% of homes in tribal communities do not have access to reliable clean drinking water or basic sanitation.
The following statement is from Julian Gonzalez, Earthjustice’s legislative representative for the Healthy Communities program:
“This critical first step is unprecedented and worth celebrating. We urge federal agencies to make sure that this hands-on approach to water and wastewater crises and equitable funding distribution continues moving forward. The approach taken by the agencies can and should be scaled up to reach families and homes across the country. This is a new way of doing business for these agencies, and developing authentic, helpful relationships with impacted communities is paramount to ensuring the $55 billion in water infrastructure funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law — and any other current or future funding — reaches the communities that need it most.”