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News Releases from Region 04

EPA Awards $700,000 in Grants to Cities in Tennessee Under New Federal Water Act

Grants awarded to Clifton, Spencer for water infrastructure improvements

Contact Information: 
Jason McDonald (
404-562-9203, 404-562-8400

NASHVILLE (October 31, 2019) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the cities of Clifton and Spencer, Tennessee as the first recipients of funding through the Assistance for Small and Disadvantaged Communities Drinking Water Grant from the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN).

Grants totaling $736,000 will go to the City of Clifton in Wayne County and the City of Spencer in Van Buren County for water infrastructure improvements. Tennessee will provide $602,181 in matching funds (45 percent), making the total amount of the award $1,338,181.

"One of EPA's top priorities under the Trump Administration is to ensure all Americans have safe drinking water," said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. "We are proud to help Tennessee communities fund critical drinking water infrastructure needs to protect children and families from lead exposure and other contaminants."

"Safe drinking water is critical to the vitality of every community," said EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker.  "These grant funds are a necessary step in providing the infrastructure to safeguard this resource for the residents of both Clifton and Spencer.  

"Tennessee can lead the nation in addressing infrastructure needs in disadvantaged communities," Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said. "We appreciate EPA's commitment to Tennessee, and we are excited the communities of Clifton and Spencer will be the first in the nation to benefit from these grants."

The award for Clifton, including the state match, is $707,500. The award for Spencer, including the match, is $630,681. The state match will be addressed though state appropriated funds. 

"Modernized water and wastewater infrastructure are critical to human health and the environment," David Salyers, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, said. "We look forward to the improvements these funds will provide, and we will continue to work closely with EPA to identify opportunities for Tennessee communities in the future." 

The funds will be used for:

City of Clifton - Planning, design, and technical assistance in preparation for construction of a new water treatment plant that will improve the city's ability to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)

City of Spencer - Planning, design, and technical assistance in preparation for improvements to the existing water treatment plant and distribution system, as well as addressing long-term water supply to improve the city's ability to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)


Authorized under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN), the Assistance for Small and Disadvantaged Communities Drinking Water Grant assists public water systems in underserved, small and disadvantaged communities meet Safe Drinking Water Act requirements.

Eligibility requirements for communities assisted by the grant are that they be small, with a population under 10,000; economically disadvantaged, with an ability to pay of less than 60 percent as determined by the 2019 Tennessee State Revolving Fund Drinking Water Priority Ranking List; and be underserved, with the designation based on communities served by a public water system that violates or exceeds any maximum contaminant level, treatment technique, or action level under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

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