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Hartselle Enquirer

ADEM funds further statewide water, sewer projects 

Special to the Enquirer  

Gov. Kay Ivey has announced the Alabama Department of Finance has signed an agreement with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management that officially provides $225 million in COVID-19 relief funds to ADEM for grants to provide or improve water and sewer services to residents across the state. 

The money is from Alabama’s share of the American Rescue Plan Act funds, passed by Congress in 2021. The Alabama Legislature appropriated the $225 million for high-needs water and sewer projects during a special session called by Ivey in January.  

In its appropriation, the legislature directed the funds to the Department of Finance and designated ADEM to oversee the program. 

The memorandum of agreement signed by the Department of Finance and ADEM will provide the funds to ADEM to be distributed as grants to “qualifying public water and sewer systems for the purpose of improving access to clean water and sewer infrastructure projects and the economic impact thereof,” according to the agreement. ADEM will implement the program using criteria that weighs the water and sewer systems’ infrastructure needs and their financial needs. 

“Every Alabamian should have access to clean drinking water and safe, sanitary disposal of wastewater,” said Ivey. “We are extremely pleased that through this program we are able to make that a reality for many of our citizens who have lacked such basic services.  

“Not only will these projects improve access to clean drinking water and sanitary sewers, they will also generate economic activity and create jobs by pumping millions of dollars into communities, many of which are rural and far from large industries and big employers.  

“This is truly a win-win for the people of Alabama.” 

Of the $225 million, the legislature appropriated $120 million for grants to public water or sewer systems with previously identified emergency or high-need projects and do not require a local match; $100 million for grants to public water and sewer systems that might require local matching funds based on their ability to pay; and $5 million for grants to demonstration projects in the Black Belt to address sewage disposal problems prevalent in rural, low-population-density areas where poor soil conditions prevent wastewater from septic systems from being absorbed into the ground.