EPA Awards RCAP $16.4 Million to Provide Technical Assistance, Training to Small Water Systems and Private Well Owners

Published On: June 13, 2024By Categories: Newsline, Workforce Development Videos

The Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) Inc. has been awarded a $16.4 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to assist private well owners and small water systems in maintaining compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act including lead service line inventories, and PFAS testing and mitigation.

As a designated national Environmental Finance Center (EFC), RCAP has been assisting underserved communities in identifying sustainable infrastructure solutions and advancing equitable health and environmental safeguards.

RCAP was awarded $13 million to provide training and technical assistance to small public water systems to ensure they remain in compliance with drinking water standards including a focus on lead remediation and cybersecurity, a newer and potentially costly vulnerability. RCAP was also awarded an additional $3.4 million to assist private well owners in improving water quality including increased testing for PFAS contamination.

“RCAP has over 50 years of experience working in rural and Tribal communities and has already been leading the way on lead service line inventories and remediation, and ensuring communities have safe drinking water,” says Olga Morales Pate, RCAP CEO.

“Cybersecurity is a growing threat no matter how accessible or remote your location is. Cyber defense is even more critical for small water systems that do not have the resources of large local or county governments to fall back on after a breach. We believe in building the human infrastructure in addition to the physical infrastructure in communities, and cybersecurity is an increasingly important consideration for utility leaders.”

The EPA announced the first national PFAS standard in April, which RCAP supported as rural communities are not exempt from the risks posed by these forever chemicals.

“PFAS is a burgeoning issue and one that will take on increasing importance with recent regulatory moves,” says Sarah Buck, RCAP chief programs officer. “We are eager to start building the capacity of small systems and private well owners to identify and remove these toxins so vulnerable populations are protected, and small systems remain in compliance as standards tighten.”

RCAP has received EPA funding for more than 30 years. During the past three years, the EPA has awarded RCAP eight assistance agreements totaling more than $34 million.

NGWA has partnered with RCAP over the years to aid well owners via WellOwner.org. Its current RCAP grant was awarded last fall and runs from October 2023-March 2025. It helps support Wellowner.org and the disbursement of WellOwner guides to homeowners.

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