The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of $2.7 billion for State Revolving Funds (SRFs) to assist states, tribes, and territories with infrastructure projects that help provide safe drinking water and protect surface waters in communities across the United States. Additionally, EPA is announcing a new $12 million grant program to help wastewater utilities that serve small, rural, and tribal communities. These investments in water infrastructure underscore this year’s World Water Day theme, the value of water, and demonstrate EPA’s commitment to building back better while helping support vital water services where they are most needed.
“EPA is committed to partnering with states, tribes, and territories to invest in infrastructure projects and protect surface waters in communities across the United States, ensuring that all Americans, especially those living in underserved communities, have access to safe and clean water and opportunities for economic growth,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “We are proud to help support improved water infrastructure across America through our SRF programs and technical assistance grants.”
EPA is making available more than $1.1 billion in new federal grant funding for the Drinking Water SRF. This funding can be used for loans that help drinking water systems remove lead service lines, increase cybersecurity, improve system resiliency to climate driven disasters such as floods, and install treatment for emerging contaminants, like PFAS. The Drinking Water SRF also offers financing flexibilities, including extended payback time periods and loan principal forgiveness, to ensure that all communities can have access to these vital funds. In addition, more than $51 million in DWSRF grant funding is available to tribes, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia to use for drinking water system upgrades.
In 2021, EPA is also providing approximately $1.6 billion in new federal grant funding for the Clean Water SRF. This funding is available for a wide range of water infrastructure projects, including modernizing aging wastewater infrastructure, implementing water reuse and recycling, and addressing stormwater. More than $64 million in Clean Water SRF grant funding is available to tribes, certain U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia for infrastructure projects.
Additionally, EPA is requesting applications for $12 million in funding for projects to provide training and technical assistance for small, rural, and tribal wastewater utility systems and onsite septic systems. This new competitive grant program, authorized by America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, builds on existing EPA technical assistance efforts by specifically helping wastewater utilities through technical assistance. Many utility systems face unique challenges in providing reliable wastewater services that meet federal and state regulations. These grants will work to ensure that smaller wastewater systems have the knowledge, training, and technical assistance needed so they can continue to provide safe sanitation to citizens across the country.
Eligible applicants under this announcement are public and private nonprofit organizations that are qualified and experienced in providing on-site training and technical assistance to small publicly owned treatment works and onsite/decentralized wastewater treatment systems. Applications must be received by EPA by May 17, 2021. EPA expects to award these cooperative agreements by summer 2021.
In addition to the $12 million appropriated by Congress for these grants for Fiscal Year 2020, Congress appropriated an additional $18 million in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. EPA expects to announce the availability of these additional funds in summer 2021.