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DEP Begins Dispersement Of Stimulus Dollars For Wastewater Facilities

June 5, 2009

–Federal funding to protect environment, stimulate economy in Northwest Florida community–

SOPCHOPPY - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced today that it has awarded a $5.1 million to the city of Sopchoppy for wastewater management. The funds, part of DEP’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program, will go to the construction of a complete sanitary sewer collection system to replace the existing septic tanks in the community. The project will benefit the environment by eliminating the ground water and surface water pollution associated with septic systems in areas with high seasonal water table conditions. Wakulla County will provide treatment and disposal of the wastewater.

The funds awarded to the city of Sopchoppy are a part of the approximately $212 million awarded to Florida from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) to help local governments finance improvements to wastewater, stormwater and drinking water facilities essential to protecting public health and the environment across the state. Florida is one of the first states to have met all the requirements necessary to receive the full amount of ARRA funds to support both the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program as well as Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF).

“In order to protect water quality and public health for our citizens, it is essential that we invest in our wastewater, stormwater and drinking water infrastructure. The stimulus funds advance our ongoing efforts to provide needed funding for infrastructure to local communities,” said DEP Secretary Michael W. Sole. “We have had a tremendous demand for the ARRA funding, which will help build valuable public projects.”

Sopchoppy was one of the 33 Florida communities recently approved to receive these funds under the SRF loan programs. Added to ten communities approved earlier this year, there are now 48 projects in 43 Florida communities scheduled to receive ARRA money to help build critical drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure.

DEP has now committed $197 million of the $212 million in available ARRA funding, leaving $15 million in drinking water funds for applicants as they complete the planning, design and permitting necessary to begin construction. Qualifying drinking water projects will be selected for the remaining ARRA funds, based on their readiness and priority, at a future public hearing. DEP will also continue to work with all applicants to help them apply for other funding as it becomes available.

DEP received more than $800 million in requests for the $80 million of ARRA drinking water project funds and more than $1.5 billion in requests competing for $132.3 million in ARRA wastewater and stormwater funding.

DEP established its SRF programs, under agreements with the EPA to provide low-interest financing to plan, design and build wastewater, stormwater and drinking water systems. Funded by federal capitalization grants, state matching funds, loan repayments, interest earnings, and periodic bond issues, SRF loans are offered at interest rates substantially below current market rates and help make loans affordable. Repayments from earlier loans are used to make new loans, allowing the program to operate in perpetuity.

Since 1999, DEP has invested more than $3.5 billion to upgrade and improve drinking water and wastewater facilities and clean up stormwater pollution, funding close to 2,100 projects statewide. More than $2.6 billion of this amount has come from the SRF programs.

For more information on the State Revolving Funds, visit http://www.dep.state.fl.us/water/wff

For a complete list of communities scheduled to receive ARRA money visit www.dep.state.fl.us/secretary/news/2009/05/0522_02.htm

For more information about Florida’s use of the federal recovery dollars made available through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, please visit www.FlaRecovery.com

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