Water

Missouri DNR seeks public comment on state ARPA funding for water infrastructure

JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KY3) – Communities in Missouri can get an extra push to improve their water systems.

The Department of Natural Resources is preparing a multimillion-dollar application for federal funding. The DNR expects to allocate approximately $400 million in federal ARPA funding. There will be four different program grants.

“There’s going to be one for drinking water, one for wastewater, one for stormwater, and then there’s a much smaller inventory of lead service lines,” said Greg Powell of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

State lawmakers still have to sign off on the exact amount, but DNR leaders say repairing an aging water system is a huge need in Missouri.

“We know that many of the pipes that supply water to our communities and homes need to be replaced,” Powell said. “In many cases, treatment plants are too small and need to be upgraded. So people will be able to do anything from building new water towers to building new sewers, replacing existing infrastructure that really supports the infrastructure we all depend on.”

This will be a competitive application process, so community applicants will be ranked based on several factors.

“We’re going to start by scoring people based on their community’s financial need,” Powell said. “After that, we will also look at where they are in the engineering process and how they are progressing in developing these plans. We will also assess their local cost share, whether they can contribute anything to the project, and their Progress on development needs. So are they not complying with any state or federal regulations?”

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources hopes to open these applications in late spring or early summer. Powell said all ARPA funding must be committed by the end of 2024 and spent by the end of 2026.

“The date may sound far away, but in infrastructure, it can be very challenging to get these multi-million dollar projects up and running in a short period of time,” he said. “So we want to open up these applications as soon as possible and get funding as soon as we become available.”

DNR will be hosting webinars for community leaders on April 12th and April 19th.

“We hope we can host these webinars in April and get information on how these programs will work, who can apply, grant funding and caps on individual projects and the amount of funding we expect,” Powell described. “That way, once the legislature has allocated this funding, the community is ready.”

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