By: Adam Stephenson
Today marks one year since the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) was signed. The BIL seeks to build a better America through infrastructure improvements. We will reflect on what initiatives the BIL is set to tackle and what has been done so far toward achieving those initiatives.
The BIL provides the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with $50 billion to distribute to states, tribes, and territories through the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs). A portion of these funds are slated to increase infrastructure investments in underserved and disadvantaged communities.
Nearly half the funding available through the SRFs must be grants or principal forgiveness loans. This will remove barriers to investing in essential water infrastructure in underserved rural and urban communities across America. EPA's SRFs are part of President Biden's Justice40 initiative, which aims to deliver at least 40% of the benefits from certain federal programs to underserved communities.
Some other initiatives the funds will be used for include lead service line replacement and addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and other emerging contaminants.
The BIL also seeks to renew the water workforce and cultivate domestic manufacturing with these water infrastructure projects.
The EPA announced over $9 billion in funding in FY2022 and FY2023 for states, tribes, and territories to upgrade America’s aging water infrastructure. This includes upgrading sewerage systems, pipes, and service lines. There is also $200 million in funding for environmental infrastructure projects for 26 states and three tribes. These funds will be used to install backup generators, upgrade aging water and wastewater infrastructure, and construct stormwater improvement projects.
The first significant distribution of water infrastructure funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is announced. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awards more than $1.1 billion in capitalization grants from the BIL to 18 states for water infrastructure improvements. The states included: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.
The agency awarded Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act grant funding for five projects to reduce lead exposure in drinking water and awarded $3.65 million to the Rural Community Assistance Partnership to help reduce lead exposure in rural communities.
The EPA announced an $8.7 million capitalization grant to Nevada for water infrastructure improvements. The EPA announced more than $609 million in capitalization grants, through SRFs, to California for water infrastructure improvements. The grants will supplement the state’s annual base SRF of $144 million.
The money is starting to flow to the communities in need. Many of these projects will happen in stages as this is a big undertaking with an unprecedented amount of funds available. Soon, cleaner water will flow into improved water infrastructure and into our homes. Check to see what projects your state is doing here.