Washington, D.C. — Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper welcomed nearly $86 million in grant funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and made available through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address emerging contaminants like Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in drinking water in Colorado. This funding will be made available to communities through the EPA’s Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities (EC-SDC) Grant Program and will promote access to safe and clean water in small, rural, and disadvantaged communities while supporting local economies.
On Monday, Bennet and Hickenlooper also joined U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) in urging the Biden Administration to provide detailed funding plans for a broad range of agencies and programs in their upcoming budget request to more comprehensively address the challenges posed by PFAS.
“For years, I’ve sounded the alarm on PFAS contamination and the urgent need to protect our communities, drinking water, and ecosystems from this threat. All Coloradans deserve clean air and clean water, and this funding will help historically underserved communities eradicate harmful chemicals from their water,” said Bennet.
“We must urgently eradicate PFAS from our drinking water, especially in historically overlooked areas in rural Colorado. We fought for this funding in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to do just that,” said Hickenlooper.
“Too many American communities, especially those that are small, rural, or underserved, are suffering from exposure to PFAS and other harmful contaminants in their drinking water,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan. “Thanks to President Biden’s leadership, we are investing in America and providing billions of dollars to strengthen our nation’s water infrastructure while safeguarding people’s health and boosting local economies. These grants build on EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap and will help protect our smallest and most vulnerable communities from these persistent and dangerous chemicals.”
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests $5 billion over five years to help communities that are on the frontlines of PFAS contamination reduce PFAS in drinking water. The EPA announced the funds for Colorado as part of an allotment of $2 billion to states and territories that can be used to prioritize infrastructure and source water treatment for pollutants, like PFAS and other emerging contaminants, and to conduct water quality testing.
Last year, Bennet and Hickenlooper urged the U.S. Air Force to address water contamination in El Paso County from PFAS, which was found in firefighting foam used at Peterson Space Force Base. They also introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would reimburse local water districts for PFAS contamination cleanup.