President Joe Biden tours the Carrollton Water Treatment Plant in New Orleans, alongside Mayor LaToya Cantrell on May 6, 2021. (Photo by Bobbi-Jeanne Misick)
With applications now open, Louisiana communities will have until Sept. 24 to apply for funding to fix their community water and sewer systems.
Water systems that apply can receive up to $5 million in funding, using money allocated from federal pandemic aid, with potentially more funding available for water systems that consolidate with others. The Water Sector Program, established by the Louisiana Legislature, has $300 million to disburse.
President Joe Biden’s administration has said Louisiana needs $7 billion over the next 20 years to fix its decrepit water systems.
The Local Government Assistance Section of the Office of Community Development hosted a webinar Monday to discuss the Water Sector Program online application portal and detail how communities can apply. While the portal is open, no applications have been submitted yet. To complete the process, communities must fill out what’s called a user access form and then fill out 31 items in the application process, including system issues, cost estimates and infrastructure estimates.
The Louisiana Department of Health will score water systems and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality will score sewer systems before the Office of Facility Planning and Control and the Office of Community Development-Local Government Assistance give their application recommendations. The Water Sector Commission and the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget will give the projects final approval.
“We set up the Water Sector program to be able to direct federal relief funding to systems with the greatest and most immediate needs,” Commissioner Jay Dardenne said. “LDH and DEQ will be looking at project severity as it pertains to public health and the adequacy of the proposed improvements to eliminate unsanitary conditions.”
The portal will also be open again from Jan. 3 to Feb. 18, 2022 for a second round of funding.
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