On March 8, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a new memo outlining its strategy to equitably deliver clean water through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox sent the memo to EPA regional water division directors and state program managers for Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs). The 56-page memo is meant to guide collaborative implementation among state, local, and Tribal partners for the $43 billion in water infrastructure funding that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will make available through the SRFs from fiscal years (FYs) 2022 through 2026.
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s investment in clean water is nothing short of transformational,” Fox said. “EPA and its state, local, and Tribal partners have an obligation to work together and maximize the impact of these funds in communities, especially disadvantaged communities. Water is essential, and this action will help ensure that every American can rely on safe drinking water and have access to wastewater management that protects health and the environment.”
The memo also underscores provisions included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to ensure that disadvantaged communities fully benefit from these historic investments in the water sector. Additionally, the memo specifies strategies for making rapid progress on lead service line replacement and addressing PFAS and other emerging contaminants.
The Water Environment Federation supports the progress EPA is making to release the funding for water infrastructure from the Infrastructure Investment & Job Act. EPA’s efforts to communicate with stakeholders has been much appreciated by the water sector.
WEF and its members have advocated to Congress and federal policymakers for many years for increased funding for the nation’s wastewater and stormwater infrastructure.
EPA’s release of the guidance memo brings us one critical step closer to that funding being a reality. Helping communities invest in water infrastructure, particularly in underserved parts of America, is a WEF priority, and this funding is desperately needed to help accomplish that goal.
EPA’s implementation memo highlights the flexibility provided to states and borrowers to address various local water quality and public health challenges. SRF funding through the law can be used in combination with additional funding sources to finance water infrastructure projects that meet the most pressing local needs.
The memo lists several key priorities that include
- provide flexibility to meet local water needs,
- increase investment in disadvantaged communities,
- make rapid progress on lead service line replacement,
- address PFAS and emerging contaminants,
- support resilience and one water innovation,
- support American workers and renew the water workforce,
- cultivate domestic manufacturing,
- fully enforce civil rights, and
- refine state SRFs to build the pipeline of projects.
EPA will be working with state co-regulators, Tribal partners, and stakeholders on next steps. The agency will provide training and technical assistance to support the development of intended use plans that identify priority projects for SRF funding. EPA intends to review these plans aligned with the requirements and recommendations of the implementation memo with the goal of expeditiously investing in communities across the country.
EPA will host national webinars on March 10, 2022, and March 16, 2022. To register visit, the EPA’s BIL Implementation Memorandum Webinar page.