Made possible by President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda, new funding will help ensure communities have access to clean and safe drinking water
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced over $6.5B for states, Tribes, and territories for essential drinking water infrastructure upgrades across the nation through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). Thanks to a $6B boost from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA is increasing the investments available to rebuild the nation’s water infrastructure.
“Every community deserves access to safe, clean drinking water,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Thanks to President Biden’s historic infrastructure investments in America, we have an unprecedented opportunity to revitalize America’s drinking water systems, support the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of removing 100% of lead pipes across our country, and protect communities from PFAS pollution.”
Administrator Regan announced the $6.5B investment on the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America tour in Rockford, Illinois with Senator Dick Durbin (IL), Senator Tammy Duckworth (IL), and Congressman Eric Sorensen (IL-17), highlighting the President’s historic funding for water infrastructure upgrades. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to strengthening the nation’s water infrastructure, while providing significant resources to address key challenges, including climate change, emerging contaminants like per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and cybersecurity.
“Environmental injustice has allowed drinking water infrastructure failures to proliferate in communities like Rockford,” said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (IL). “Thankfully, with the help of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, almost $330M is being brought home to Illinois to confront a monumental task: to ensure our communities know and trust their water is safe to drink. Rockford will finally be able to implement their plans to improve the lives of their residents and I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues to deliver more federal funding to communities like them.”
“I’m proud to be in Rockford today to help EPA announce this historic SRF funding, which was made possible by my Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act (DWWIA) in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, that will help upgrade, improve and repair water infrastructure in Illinois and around the country,” said U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (IL). “Because of my DWWIA bill, I’m also pleased that a portion of this funding will be available as grants and loan forgiveness to ensure these investments reach the most underserved communities and give all of our water systems this opportunity. Every American—no matter their race, income or zip code—deserves to have confidence that the systems carrying and processing the water they use every day are safe, clean and reliable.”
"Everyone in Central and Northwestern Illinois should have access to safe, clean drinking water," said U.S. Representative Eric Sorensen (IL-17). “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is working to make that happen by replacing lead pipes in places like Rockford, Illinois. These investments will help our families live healthier lives and create good-paying, sustainable jobs at the same time."
These DWSRF allotments to states are based on the results of EPA’s 7th Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment (DWINSA). The survey, which is required by the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act, assesses the nation’s public water systems’ infrastructure needs every four years and the findings are used to allocate DWSRF grants to states. The drinking water utilities need $625B in infrastructure investments over the next 20 years to ensure the nation’s public health, security, and economic well-being.
At the direction of Congress, EPA’s 7th Drinking Water Assessment, for the first time included a survey on lead service lines and is projecting a national total of 9.2 million lead service lines across the country. This best available national and state-level projections of service line counts will help advance a unique opportunity to employ a separate lead service line allotment formula for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law DWSRF Lead Service Line Replacement Funding that is based on need. Almost $3B of the funding announced today will be provided specifically for lead service line identification and replacement, taking a key step toward the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of achieving 100% lead free water systems.
President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is investing over $50B in water and wastewater infrastructure improvements across the country between FY 2022 and FY 2026. In its second year of implementation, $6B of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding will be available to states, Tribes, and territories through the DWSRF. Of that funding, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will invest $3B in lead service line identification and improvement, $800M to address PFAS and other emerging contaminants, and $2.2B in other critical drinking water system improvements. Additionally, approximately $500M will also be available through the DWSRF annual appropriations, established by the Safe Drinking Water Act.
EPA is committed to ensuring every community has access to this historic investment and has centralized increasing investment in disadvantaged communities within its implementation. The implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law calls for strong collaboration, and EPA continues to work in partnership with states, Tribes, and territories to ensure that communities see the full benefits of this investment. In addition, EPA is strengthening its water technical assistance programs to support communities in assessing their water needs and apply for their fair share of this historic investment.
President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is growing the American economy from the bottom up and middle-out – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, to creating a manufacturing and innovation boom powered by good-paying jobs that don’t require a four-year degree, to building a clean-energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient.
For more information, including state-by-state allocation of 2023 funding and information on the DWINSA.(https://www.epa.gov/dwsrf/annual-allotment-federal-funds-states-tribes-and-territories)
For more information on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.(https://www.epa.gov/infrastructure)
The 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Amendments mandated that EPA conduct an assessment of the nation’s public water systems’ infrastructure needs every four years and use the findings to allocate DWSRF capitalization grants to states.
The DWSRFs have been the foundation of water infrastructure investment for more than 25 years, providing low-cost financing for local projects across America. Since its inception, states have provided almost $53B through DWSRF programs to water systems for approximately 18,000 projects. Each state receives an allocation percentage that is based directly on its proportional share of the total need for all 50 States and Puerto Rico. The percentage made available to any individual state ranges from 1% to almost 11%, with each state guaranteed a minimum of 1% of the total amount available to states. Due to any individual state’s share of the total state need, some states will see increases or decreases in the percentage of funding they receive.
Here is what they are saying about this unprecedented drinking water investment:
“Every American deserves access to safe, clean drinking water,” said U.S. Senator Tom Carper (DE), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “Thanks to our historic drinking water investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA is providing state and local governments across our nation with the resources needed to rebuild their water systems. I applaud the Biden Administration’s work to make clean drinking water a reality for more Americans, especially those with the greatest need, and create good-paying jobs in the process. In addition, I look forward to continuing the important work of investing in our nation’s water infrastructure.”
“Families shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not the water coming out of the faucet is safe for their children to drink,” said U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (OH). “Because of the investments we made in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Ohio communities will be able to replace old pipes, using American-made materials and installed by American workers, and will ensure that these investments reach even more Ohioans.”
“These funds will go a long way to ensuring Arizona’s small public water systems continue to serve healthy drinking water,” said Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Director Karen Peters. “With these funds, ADEQ will be accelerating a new project to assist small water systems in conducting their lead service line inventories.”
“Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, California and many of our sister states will see an increase in federal funding this year for drinking water projects in some of our most vulnerable communities,” said Yana Garcia, California Secretary for Environmental Protection. “Although we’ve made great strides, many California communities continue to lack access to safe, clean, and affordable drinking water. Current estimates price our drinking water infrastructure needs at $64.7B. Securing sustained federal and state funding to meet this need is critical, and remains a key priority for our administrations.”
“Through its continuing investments in water infrastructure nationwide, USEPA is delivering on the Biden-Harris Administration’s promise to deliver the clean, safe, and affordable drinking water that every American deserves,” said Shawn M. LaTourette, Infrastructure Chair for the Environmental Council of States and New Jersey’s Commissioner of Environmental Protection. “The 2023 drinking water funding allotments reflect our shared state-federal commitment to getting harmful substances, like lead and synthetic chemicals, out of our water and away from our kids. With the added support from USEPA in this year’s allotment, New Jersey and other states can better accelerate their work to rid our communities of the scourge of lead service lines.”
"The State of Connecticut is pleased to hear of today's announcement from the EPA noting that we will receive additional federal funding to address safe drinking water infrastructure improvements through its Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan program,” said Manisha Juthani, MD, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH). “This funding support provides for approximately $40M dollars each year in federal funding from 2023 through 2026 to address drinking water lead service line inventory and removal for Connecticut's public water systems and communities. DPH is fully committed to the oversight of safe drinking water including water quality protection and maintenance of the state’s public drinking water infrastructure. The State of Connecticut thanks the Biden Administration and EPA Administrator Regan's continued historic financial and technical support to address the challenges of lead service line removal, emerging contaminants, aging infrastructure and the focus to assist our disadvantaged communities."
“The Environmental Defense Fund applauds EPA for updating the formula it uses to allocate lead service line replacement infrastructure funding to states so that allocation is based on states’ needs and not on an outdated formula from 2016. With an estimated 9.2 million lead pipes connecting water mains to homes and other buildings, the action will help ensure the funds are invested where they will do the greatest good to reduce harmful lead in drinking water. We also are encouraged that EPA is considering a mechanism for states to update their needs assessments as they develop better inventories of the lead service lines in their state,” said Environmental Defense Fund Senior Director for Safer Chemicals Tom Nelter.”
“EPA’s changes will ensure a fairer and more equitable distribution of funding dollars to replace the nation’s millions of lead pipes. It’s good news for communities with the highest need that will now have access to more funding to get lead pipes out of the ground,” said Cyndi Roper, the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) Michigan Senior Policy Advocate and co-author of the EPA’s lead pipe funding analysis.
“This announcement of $6.5B for states, Tribes, and territories by the EPA to provide needed capacity for essential drinking water upgrades through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund is an important and vital investment in public health overall and children for generations to come. Identification of lead service lines across the nation and funding to help completely replace those lines has been a continued challenge. This funding will provide great service to communities working to expedite these replacements nationwide,” said Children's Environmental Health Network (CEHN) Executive Director Nsedu Obot Witherpsoon, MPH.