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EPA's water infrastructure funds could reduce sewage overflows in Connecticut River

The Connecticut River in Massachusetts.
Nancy Eve Cohen
The Connecticut River in Massachusetts.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced New England will receive $536 million to improve the safety of drinking water and to clean up lakes, rivers and beaches. The funding comes from the federal infrastructure law. 

Massachusetts is slated to receive about a third of the total, or nearly $189 million.

Ken Moraff , director of the water program for EPA New England, said the money will help update sewage water treatment in communities with pipes that combine storm water and sewage. Those include Springfield, Chicopee and Holyoke.

"They still have old sewer systems that, when it rains, there can be overflows of sewage into the Connecticut river or into its tributaries," he said. "And fixing that problem takes significant investments in infrastructure."

Moraff said about half of the funds will be distributed as forgivable loans or direct grants — money that cities and towns don't have to pay back.

Nancy Eve Cohen is a senior reporter focusing on Berkshire County. Previously she served as the editor of the Northeast Environmental Hub, a collaborative of public radio stations. Earlier in her career she was the Midwest editor for NPR in Washington, D.C. Before working in radio, she recorded sound as part of a camera crew for network television news, with assignments in Russia, Guatemala, Mexico, Cuba and in Sarajevo during the war in 1992.
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