Made possible by Biden’s Investing in America Agenda, new funding ‘will help ensure communities have access to clean and safe drinking water’
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $270 million to New York essential drinking water infrastructure upgrades across the state through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF).
A press release stated, “Thanks to a $6 billion boost from Biden-Harris administration’s ‘Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,’ EPA is increasing the investments available to rebuild the nation’s water infrastructure.”
EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said, “Every community deserves access to safe, clean drinking water. 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.”
U.S. EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia said, “EPA is putting the funding where the priorities are by working with our state partners to deliver clean water to communities, protect public health, and advance environmental justice across New York state and the nation. This funding is part of the once-in-a lifetime investments we are making to transform infrastructure under the ‘Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.’ ”
Gov. Kathy Hochul said, “Ensuring every New Yorker has access to safe, clean water is a critical priority, and we continue to make historic investments in clean water infrastructure – including a $500 million investment in my executive budget – in communities across the state. I thank the Biden administration and New York congressional delegation for their partnership and this latest investment through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund that will help modernize our water infrastructure – creating a greener, healthier New York for generations to come.”
Congressman Brian Higgins said, “Access to clean drinking water creates a stronger and healthier future for all communities. Western New York is an older community with a large stock of aging homes. Thanks to the ‘Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,’ we have the opportunity to advance ongoing efforts to replace water lines with sustainable and modern infrastructure. Investments made by this historic legislation build on the Safe Drinking Water Act by creating good-paying jobs and making long-term contributions to healthier neighborhoods.”
New York State Environmental Facilities Corp. President and CEO Maureen A. Coleman said, “This second wave of federal funding awarded to New York state for drinking water infrastructure builds on the incredible investments we’ve made for water infrastructure under the leadership of Gov. Hochul. EFC is working closely with our partners at the Department of Health to ensure this $270 million infrastructure investment is distributed equitably and efficiently.”
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner and EFC Board Chair Basil Seggos said, "(This) latest drinking water announcement by President Biden, EPA Administrator Regan, and Regional Administrator Garcia will be a great complement to New York’s ongoing investments in clean water infrastructure, and strengthen our efforts to build stronger, healthier communities across the state. DEC appreciates the ongoing federal and state partnerships that are making a huge difference, especially in environmental justice communities, by delivering this BIL funding and protecting drinking water supplies.”
Recent examples of the type of work being funded includes contributing $1.27 million towards financing the project of modernizing aging infrastructure at three facilities in the Albany Water System: the Feura Bush Filtration Plant, the Pine Bush Pump Station and the Loudonville Reservoir. The improvements made will increase the quality the life for more than 100,000 people living in Albany.
The press release said, “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), lead pipes, and cybersecurity.”
The 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 $625 billion 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 survey questions focused 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 $3 billion of the funding announced 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.”
The “Bipartisan Infrastructure Law” is investing more than $50 billion in water and wastewater infrastructure improvements across the country between FY 2022 and FY 2026. In its second year of implementation, $6 billion of funding will be available to states, Tribes and territories through the DWSRF. Of that funding, the “Bipartisan Infrastructure Law” will invest $3 billion in lead service line identification and improvement, $800 million to address PFAS and other emerging contaminants, and $2.2 billion in other critical drinking water system improvements. Additionally, approximately $500 million will also be available through the DWSRF annual appropriations, established by the Safe Drinking Water Act.
The 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) amendments mandated 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 press release noted, “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 $53 billion 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.”
For more information about EPA Region 2, visit its website.