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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: May 7, 2018
CONTACT: Jim Martin, (603) 271-3710

Celebrate National Drinking Water Week, May 7-11

Trust Fund Helps Close the Funding Gap for Water Infrastructure

[Editor's Note] -To recognize National Drinking Water Week, May 7 to 11, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services will be issuing a series of press releases highlighting the importance and value of drinking water to each of us in our everyday lives.

Concord, NH – New Hampshire's drinking water infrastructure earned a C-minus in the American Society of Civil Engineers' 2017 infrastructure report card. While public water systems are working hard every day to deliver safe drinking water, maintaining public water system infrastructure (wells, treatment plants, storage tanks, piping) requires greater capital investment than it currently receives. In 2013, a joint legislative committee in New Hampshire projected that $857 million would be needed over a 10-year period to update the current drinking water infrastructure to ensure reliability, meet demand growth and achieve regulatory compliance.

At about $86 million per year, the need is well beyond the level of funding available under the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund (DWSRF), the main source of federal-state assistance for drinking water infrastructure, which is currently funded at around $9 million per year for New Hampshire. Other government programs, such as USDA Rural Development and New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority, also help finance such projects, but the amount of money available in any given year is limited and not all water systems are eligible.

Fortunately, the $276 million Drinking Water and Groundwater Trust Fund will go a long way in closing the gap. The Trust Fund was created by the N.H. Legislature in 2015 with the proceeds of the state's lawsuit against ExxonMobil for contamination of drinking water supplies with the gasoline additive Methyl-tertiary-Butyl Ether (MtBE). Last fall, the Commission that was established to administer the Trust Fund made $35 million available in loans and grants, and this year it plans to make an additional $45 million available.

"The legislature quickly put the settlements and damages awarded to the state from MtBE contamination to work through the Drinking Water and Groundwater Trust Fund, ensuring each community has access to clean and safe water," noted State Senator Chuck Morse, Chairman of the N.H. Drinking Water and Groundwater Advisory Commission. "Working closely with Department of Environmental Services, the Commission has created a long-term program to address contamination, infrastructure and access issues facing communities across our state. We have already provided matching funds to expedite local projects, and I am confident we will continue to do so for many years."

More information about loans and grants available from the Trust Fund can be found at www4.des.state.nh.us/nh-dwg-trust




NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

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