Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act: Frequently Asked Questions
To help you make sense of what the Infrastructure Bill means for your community, we’ve compiled some Frequently Asked Questions.
Posted on December 6, 2021
On November 15, 2021, President Biden signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684). While the resounding sentiment in our industry is that this $1+ trillion piece of legislation is a win for water, it has understandably spurred many questions.
To help you make sense of what the legislation means for your community, we’ve compiled some FAQs around the new law and how water systems can get access to available funds.
Q: What does H.R. 3684 mean for clean water?
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes an unprecedented investment in clean drinking water over the next 5 years.
It includes America’s largest investment in clean drinking water in history — $55 billion — and includes funds dedicated to the replacement of lead service lines and chemical PFAS.
The clean drinking water investments outlined are intended to address:
- Lead service line inventorying & replacement
- Affordability & accessibility
- Emerging contaminants
- Emerging technologies
- Utility resilience
Q: Who will benefit from this funding?
When safe, clean water is the goal, everyone benefits. With this legislation, small (<10,000 population) and medium-sized systems (>10,000 and <100,000 population) have the most to gain, and are well-positioned to access Federal funding.
Furthermore, those water systems that service a community that meets State-determined affordability criteria and/or those systems with past or current violations or exceedances of a requirement of a national primary drinking water regulation, are intended beneficiaries of a good portion of available funding.
The EPA’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF), the financial assistance program in coordination with States to help water systems protect public health through safe drinking water, will see:
- $14.65 billion reauthorization of programmatic funding via annual appropriations.
Targeted investments to remediate known and emerging contaminants in drinking water, specifically lead and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), have been appropriated over the next five years as supplemental/ in addition to the annual appropriations:
- $15 billion specifically for lead service line replacement, which includes planning, design, and inventorying; and
- $4 billion for remediation of emerging contaminants (e.g., PFAS).
Q: How will the funds be distributed?
Around 90 percent of the available funding is being funneled through DWSRF and Clean Water State Revolving Funds (CWSRF). These Federally-funded loan programs have proven to be effective vehicles through which to channel funding for drinking water and clean water needs.
As many of the programs see available funding increase year-over-year, there is an opportunity for water systems to both address their immediate needs and work toward their long-term goals through such funding.
The EPA is the administrator of the funds, but the funding eligibility criteria — and awardees — are determined by each State’s respective DWSRF or CWSRF.
Visit your state’s DWSRF website for information on your state’s criteria.
Visit your state’s CWSRF website for information on your state’s criteria.
Q: How can this funding help with LCRR compliance?
While not directly connected to the Lead & Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR), the availability of these increased funds does coincide nicely with the proposed LCRR timelines.
Many of the existing programs that were amended (e.g., Sec. 50105. Reducing Lead In Drinking Water) and new pilot programs (e.g., Lead Inventorying Utilization Grant Pilot Program) speak directly to LCRR requirements.
We recently conducted a survey that shows that the majority of water systems feel they are not ready for the sweeping new regulatory changes governing safe drinking water expected to be effective mid-December. This funding can help water systems fund their LCRR compliance projects and meet the requirements.
Q: Can funds be used for lead service line inventory (LSLI)?
The LCRR will require water systems to compile and manage a lead service line inventory (LSLI), including both the public and private sides of the line by 2024.
As part of the LCRR, 3% of identified lead service lines (LSLs) must be replaced each year until all lead lines are remediated. According to our survey, only 16% of water systems have inventories of 75% or more of the LSLs in their systems, and more than half said they have no data on LSLs at all.
With this enactment of the new infrastructure legislation, water systems now have available funding to kickstart the development of their LSLI to meet the LCRR requirements.
The $15 billion supplemental funding for LSL replacements via DWSRF over the next five years can be used for actual replacement activities as well as associated activities, such as identification, planning, and design, including inventories.
To ensure your system fully leverages the available funding, a foundational project to start today is the development of your LSLI.
Q: Where can we get additional information about the new law and get help securing our funding?
The EPA provides a number of resources to help water systems navigate where and how to access available funds. Review the EPA’s DWSRF website to learn more about its federal-state partnership or find your state’s DWSRF assistance website for information for your state.
The 120Water team is also available to help! We built our software and services to align with the various grants and SRF requirements to ensure you get the funding you need. Our team of experts is here to help you navigate the news and get your plan in place.
Contact our team to get started.