The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded more than $1.3 billion for water infrastructure improvements to 18 states using funds provided in the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The money was issued through State Revolving Funds (SRFs) for drinking water and clean water projects with a focus on benefiting underserved communities, EPA announced.

The funds are the first installment of nearly $44 billion the agency will distribute to states, territories and tribes for water infrastructure projects over five years. It previously announced allocations of the first $7.4 billion in infrastructure act money for the SRFs.

Almost half of that SRF funding will come in the form of grants or forgivable loans thanks to IIJA money, White House infrastructure implementation coordinator Mitch Landrieu said in a statement. 

Pennsylvania was awarded $240 million, the highest funding amount among the 18 states. The Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority and state Dept. of Environmental Protection plan to fund dozens of projects, including separating storm sewers from existing sanitary sewers in Johnstown, building a replacement water treatment plant in Eldred and rehabilitating 100-year-old sewer pipes in Pittsburgh, records show.

Many projects involve replacement of lead service lines or upgrades to existing treatment plants. Connecticut officials plan to replace lead pipes in New London and Waterbury, and add PFAS treatments in New Fairfield and Danbury with some of the $53 million the state was awarded. In Hawaii, a portion of awarded $31 million may go toward a project to expand the West Maui recycled water system.

Several proposed projects for West Virginia’s $83 million would expand sewer service, in one case extending gravity sewers to replace failing septic systems in the Saint Albans area where officials say they have contributed to raw sewage in the Coal River. In Virginia, planned projects that may receive some of the $126 million in funding include a $60-million expansion and upgrade of the Fredericksburg wastewater treatment plant. 

Other awards include $57 million to Arizona, $121 million to Colorado, $63 million to Delaware, $39 million to Maine, $188 million to Massachusetts, $76 million to Maryland, $26 million to Montana, $72 million to New Hampshire, $66 million to Rhode Island, $63 million to Utah, $63 million to Vermont and $67 million to Washington.

New Mexico was also awarded funding, but EPA representatives declined to share the amount until an announcement on Sept. 29—it could be as much as $63 million, per the previously announced allocations.

EPA says more capitalization grants will be awarded on a rolling basis as states receive approval.