Number of the Day: $78 million

October 18, 2012 | Number of The Day

New Jersey’s water infrastructure is in dire need of repair, and the federal Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the state $78 million, to be used in a revolving fund of low-interest loans to upgrade sewage plants and drinking water systems around the state.

The Clean Water State Revolving Fund received $57.7 million, which will be used to make improvements to wastewater treatment systems and control pollution from rain water runoff. The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund received $20 million to finance improvements to drinking water systems, particularly in small and disadvantaged communities.

The Sierra Club’s Jeff Tittel used the announcement to take aim at the Christie administration, charging them with backing off on stormwater and floodwater hazard regulations, as well as weakening protections in the Highlands and Pinelands, which are critical water-supply areas. Although Tittel welcomed the EPA investment, he said the state has a backlog of $25 billion in needed repairs. “This shows the EPA is more concerned about our water quality than the Christie administration.”