The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that it expects to issue by October 15th a $21.7 million grant funding opportunity for technical assistance and training providers to support small drinking water and wastewater systems that are often located in rural communities across the United States. EPA’s funding will improve public health and environmental protection by helping ensure that drinking water in these communities is safe and that wastewater is treated and responsibly returned to the environment.
“Small towns and rural America are the backbone of our country and we must invest in the water infrastructure and the water workforce that support these communities,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “Through this grant program, EPA is able to meet the specific needs of small drinking water and wastewater systems to help improve water quality that supports health, recreation, and the rural economy.”
Small water systems often face unique financial and operational challenges, including aging infrastructure, workforce shortages, increasing costs, and declining rate bases. EPA anticipates that the funding opportunity announcement will solicit projects that will provide training and technical assistance to small public water systems, small wastewater systems, and private well owners across the country to help improve operational performance and comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act. The projects are also expected to help inform private drinking water well owners about strategies to protect their drinking water supply.
Eligible applicants for this competitive agreement are expected to be nonprofit organizations, nonprofit private universities and colleges, and public institutions of higher education. We expect this grant solicitation will be posted on Grants.gov by October 15th and applicants will have 60 days to apply. EPA expects to award these cooperative agreements by Spring 2022 and encourages all eligible organizations who have an interest in these projects to apply.
This grant program will complement an announcement earlier this year of recipients for $12 million in new grant funding to support small, rural, and Tribal wastewater systems. These announcements underscore EPA’s commitment to investing in water infrastructure where it’s needed most.