EPA seeks to make US water systems safe from sabotage
WASHINGTON - The Environmental Protection Agency awarded last week the first of $53 million in grants to help large drinking water utilities across the country determine how vulnerable their systems are to attacks and sabotage.
The grant money was provided by Congress to ensure the nation\'s water supply remained safe following the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Individual grants of up to $115,000 will be awarded to about 400 water systems. Any remaining funds will be directed to other security planning needs.
EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman gave the first grant to the Washington, D.C., area\'s water authority. Similar checks are being sent to the San Juan water district in California, the Illinois cities of Elgin, Naperville and Wilmette; and the Orlando Utilities Commission in Orlando, Florida.
\"These grants will help ensure that the water people rely on is safe and secure,\" Whitman said.
The large water utilities eligible for the EPA grants serve more than 100,000 people each and provide drinking water to about half of Americans served by public water systems.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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