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Missouri DNR seeking public input on state ARPA funding toward water infrastructure

Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 8:25 PM CDT
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KY3) - Communities across Missouri could get an extra boost to improve their water systems.

The Department of Natural Resources is preparing applications for millions in federal dollars. DNR is hoping to distribute about $400-million in federal ARPA funds. There will be four different program grants.

”There’ll be one for drinking water, one for wastewater, one for stormwater, and then a much smaller one for lead service line inventories,” Greg Powell with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources said.

State lawmakers still have to sign off on the exact dollar amount, but DNR leaders say fixing up old and aging water systems is a huge need in Missouri.

”We know that a lot of the pipes that are serving water to our communities and to our homes need to be replaced,” Powell said. “Treatment plants in many cases are undersized and need to be upgraded. So folks will be able to do everything from building new water towers to building new sewer mains, replacing their existing ones and really shoring up the infrastructure we all rely on.”

It will be a competitive application process, so community applicants will be ranked on a few factors.

”We’ll be scoring folks primarily, first and foremost, on the financial needs of the community,” Powel said. “After that, we’ll also be looking at where they are in the engineering process and how far along they are in developing those plans. We’ll also be evaluating their local cost share, if they can contribute anything to the project, and kind of how far they are along in developing the need. So are they out of compliance with any state or federal rules or regulations?”

The Missouri Department of Natural resources is hoping to open those applications either late spring or early summer. All ARPA funds have to be committed by the end of 2024 and spent by the end of 2026, Powell said.

”Dates can sound like they’re far away, but in the world of infrastructure, getting these multi-million dollar projects off the ground and built in a short time frame can be pretty challenging,” he said. “So we are hoping to move as quickly on getting these applications open and money awarded as soon as it’s available to us.”

DNR is holding webinars for community leaders on April 12 and April 19.

“Our hope is that we can host these webinars in April and get information about how these programs are going to work, who can apply, what the caps are going to be for grant funding and individual projects, and how much money we’re anticipating,” Powell described. “This way the communities are kind of ready as soon as the legislature allocates that funding.”

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