PRESS RELEASE | Struggling Small Water Systems Get Financial Boost from House Bill 2094

HB 2094, small water systems fund; uses, expands grant eligibility to assist nearly 60 systems currently not meeting federal safe drinking water standards.

ADEQ officials thank Governor Ducey today for signing House Bill 2094 into law, which expands grant eligibility to help small public water systems in need of water quality upgrades and infrastructure repairs. Sponsored by Representative Russell Bowers, R-25, HB 2094 makes the small water systems fund available to assist many of the 60 small water systems currently delivering water with contaminant levels exceeding federal safe drinking water standards.

Representative Bowers said today, “Unlike many state and federal environmental agencies, I am grateful to see our ADEQ become a proactive force for resolving problems, rather than heavy-handed enforcement. Providing this relief for many of our small water folks is very satisfying."

In partnership with the Arizona Corporation Commission and the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority, ADEQ now has authority to provide grants for small water companies to maintain healthy and reliable water for their customers.

ADEQ Water Quality Division Director Trevor Baggiore said, “ADEQ’s goal is to ensure that every water system in Arizona delivers healthy drinking water to its community. These changes to HB 2094 are an important step in meeting that goal and we look forward to putting them to effective use with the ACC and WIFA."

Significant benefits of HB 2094 include:

  • Expands eligibility for small systems, serving 10,000 or fewer people (previously limited to 500 or fewer connections), which often are the sole water provider in a rural area and lack the customer base and revenue required for costly upgrades.
  • Allows grants to be issued directly to owners (previously only interim operators or managers), like small municipalities and some rural schools, to fund necessary infrastructure upgrades to comply with safe drinking water standards.
  • Protects the interests of Arizona’s smaller, rural communities and the State through its structure, which requires consultation between ADEQ and ACC in recommending systems to receive grant funding. In addition, ADEQ’s Director must demonstrate and certify the direct public benefit of each grant.

HB 2094 further allows ADEQ’s Director, in consultation with the ACC, to swiftly address water emergencies when necessary, outside the state procurement code.

“We have an infrastructure crisis in Arizona, especially in rural areas,” said ACC Commissioner Andy Tobin, who has been a champion in addressing water service emergencies and chairs the Commission’s Water Committee. “The customers can’t wait for long-term solutions to water problems. The signing of HB2094 is the next step in solving these problems and lets us, along with ADEQ and WIFA, act immediately."

“Managing this program for the state allows WIFA to help even more water systems with important water projects to protect the environment and safeguard the well-being of Arizona families,” said WIFA Executive Director, Trish Incognito.

Resources

Arizona Corporation Commission | View website >
Water Infrastructure Finance Authority | View website >

Contact

ADEQ Public Information Officer – 602-771-2215
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