State eyes ‘once in lifetime’ opportunity to upgrade local water, sewer systems

Idaho News
By Betsy Z. Russell; Idaho Press BOISE — The proposed budget for the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality for next year shows something unusual: A 100.7% increase in total funds from this year. The reason: A “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make investments in infrastructure projects that will have an impact for generations to come,” according to state DEQ Director Jess Byrne. Byrne presented the budget to the Legislature’s Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Thursday, including proposals from Gov. Brad Little to spend hundreds of millions in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds over the next five years for major upgrades to city drinking and wastewater systems; closing old landfills; addressing contaminated, abandoned mine sites across the state; and more. “When the ARPA dollars arrived, the first thing the governor said was, ‘I…
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