On June 29, the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee passed the fiscal year 2023 (FY23) Interior & Environment Appropriations Bill. This bill funds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and many of the programs that provide federal funding and financing for water infrastructure investments.
The Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) enacted into law last year authorized Congress to provide future appropriations for several new drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater programs. President Biden’s FY23 budget request to Congress earlier this year asked for full funding for all the water funding programs included in IIJA.
The bill passed yesterday by the House Appropriations Committee provided funding for many of those programs. However, some were left unfunded or were funded below the authorized level. This is the initial step in the legislative process of funding the FY23 budget, and many experts predict that Congress will not complete the final budget until late 2022 or early 2023.
The House FY23 Interior & Environment Appropriations bill provides funding for the following programs: (WEF has advocated for programs marked in italics.)
- Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) will receive $1.75 billion, of which $550 million goes toward earmarks. This is well below the $2.75 authorized for FY23 in IIJA, but an increase of $112 million over FY22. This amount is in addition to the $2.2 billion for the Clean Water SRF already appropriated through the IIJA.
- Drinking Water SRF will receive $1.12 billion, of which $380 million goes toward earmarks. This is well below the $2.75 authorized for FY23 in IIJA, but an increase of $8 million over FY22. This amount is in addition to the $2.2 billion for the Clean Water SRF already appropriated through IIJA.
- Sewer Overflow & Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grants (OSG) will receive $280 million, which is the level authorized by IIJA and $237 million over FY22.
- WIFIA: $80.3 million (+$10 million over FY22)
- Water Workforce Grants: $5 million
- Small & Medium POTW Circuit Rider Program: $5 million
- Technical Assistance for Wastewater Treatment Works: $33 million
- Stormwater Centers of Excellence: $5 million
- Stormwater Infrastructure Planning and Implementation Grant: $5 million*
- Water Data Sharing: $5 million
- Alternative Source Water Grants: $10 million
- Enhanced Aquifer Use & Recharge: $5 million
- Section 319 grants: $190 million (+$12 million over FY22)
- Section 106 grants: $243 million (+13 million over FY22)
Unfortunately, several new grant programs authorized in IIJA do not appear in the House bill. These programs include but are not limited to
- Wastewater Efficiency Grants Pilot Program,
- Clean Water Resilience & Sustainability Grants,
- Water Sector Cybersecurity Grants,
- Connection to POTW Grants,
- Source Water Petition Program,
- Technical Assistance & Grants for Emergencies, Small DW Systems,
- Voluntary Connection to Public Water Systems,
- Underserved Communities Grants to Meet SDWA Requirements,
- Small Water System Loss Prevention,
- Indian Drinking Water Programs, and
- Advanced Drinking Water Technologies.
The bill now moves to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. The U.S. Senate is expected to draft its version of the FY23 Interior & Environment Appropriations bill in the coming months.