Use of federal drinking water money varies in Deep South
ATLANTA - Money from a federal fund aiming to help states comply with drinking water requirements goes toward a mix of state employee salaries and expenses and private contractors throughout the Deep South.
The Associated Press reviewed state records in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi. In addition to providing loans for local water projects, the federal Drinking Water State Revolving Fund allows states to set aside up to 31 percent of the money they receive for operating and administrative costs. State officials say the money is needed to serve smaller and often poor water systems.
One organization representing state water managers warned that using so much money for annual administrative costs "could adversely affect the longevity" of the revolving fund. More than $2.7 billion has been used for set-asides since 1996.
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