RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina has received $3 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help the state enforce the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The grant, announced Monday, was made under the Public Water System Supervision program and goes to the state Division of Environmental Quality. The money helps with the division's oversight of 5,677 water systems that serve approximately 9 million people.

The grants are designed to ensure that public drinking water systems comply with regulations. When systems are found in violation, funds are used to help bring them back into compliance. NCDEQ can develop its own regulations and requirements that are more stringent than federal guidelines.

Part of the money can help the state prepare to implement new drinking water regulations that take effect in the current or following year.


This story has been corrected to delete the sentence about North Carolina's environmental agency being able to set its own, stricter guidelines. A 2011 North Carolina law prevents the agency from using guidelines that are more restrictive than federal rules.