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Kamala Harris visits Pittsburgh, announces $5.8B clean water investment

By Clyde Hughes & Ehren Wynder
Vice President Kamala Harris addresses Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Michael Regan during an Accelerating Lead Pipe Replacement Summit at the White House on January 27, 2023. They traveled to Pittsburg, Pa., Tuesday to announce $5.8 billion in clean water investments, including $200 million for the state of Pennsylvania. File Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI
Vice President Kamala Harris addresses Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Michael Regan during an Accelerating Lead Pipe Replacement Summit at the White House on January 27, 2023. They traveled to Pittsburg, Pa., Tuesday to announce $5.8 billion in clean water investments, including $200 million for the state of Pennsylvania. File Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Vice President Kamala Harris and EPA Administrator Michael Regan traveled to Pennsylvania Tuesday to detail a $5.8 billion investment for clean water infrastructure.

On the visit to Pittsburgh Harris and Regan stressed that all families deserve access to clean, safe water, which the White House seeks to provide through the funding allotted under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

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"When the president and I took office ... We decided to deal with the fact that Americans in up to 10 million homes and children in thousands of schools and childcare facilities had to drink water coming out of lead pipes," Harris said.

The clean water investment includes more than $3.2 billion through the Drinking Water State Recovery Fund to expand clean water access and more than $2.6 billion from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund for wastewater, sanitation and stormwater infrastructure improvements.

Over $200 million could be used to replace old water mains and upgrade storm drains in Pennsylvania alone, Harris said.

"In Pennsylvania, many water mains that deliver water to a street or a neighborhood are over 100 years old. So, old water mains are more likely to break or bust, especially when the temperatures drop," Harris said, noting an incident weeks ago in the Hill District where a water main burst and hundreds of people lost water for a day.

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The EPA will also dedicate more than $1 billion to address the growing concerns over PFAS contaminants, so-called "forever chemicals."

"Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the administration has launched over 1,300 drinking water and wastewater projects across the country, including projects that will replace hundreds of thousands of lead service lines," the White House said.

A study by The Guardian released in 2022 found that EPA tests missed large levels of PFAS pollutants. The chemical is widely used to repel water and stains and break down slowly over time. They can be found in shampoo, cosmetics, nonstick cookware, food packaging and clothing.

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