The U.S. Department of the Treasury yesterday announced it has opened an online portal for eligible entities to apply for funds available in the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund , created under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 this spring. Water utilities may apply for funds either through their city governments if their cities are listed as eligible for individual allotments, or apply through their state governments. Cities and states apply via the online portal . The act provides funding for a host of specific uses, including “to make necessary investments” in water infrastructure and to provide premium pay for “essential workers.” Treasury also released an interim final rule describing those uses more specifically. It said that the types of projects eligible for funding under the drinking water and wastewater state revolving loan fund programs would be eligible for funding under this program. While the interim rule does not specify water utility workers, it does say those who qualify are those “workers who have been and continue to be relied on to maintain continuity of operations of essential critical infrastructure sectors, including those who are critical to protecting the health and wellbeing of their communities…the chief executive of each recipient has discretion to add additional sectors to this list, so long as additional sectors are deemed critical to protect the health and well-being of residents.” The rule notes, “By permitting funds to be used for water and sewer infrastructure needs, Congress recognized the critical role that clean drinking water and services for the collection and treatment of wastewater and stormwater play in protecting public health.” “Recipients may use Fiscal Recovery Funds to invest in a broad range of projects that improve drinking water infrastructure, such as building or upgrading facilities and transmission, distribution, and storage systems, including replacement of lead service lines. Given the lifelong impacts of lead exposure for children, and the widespread nature of lead service lines, Treasury encourages recipients to consider projects to replace lead service lines. “Fiscal Recovery Funds may also be used to support the consolidation or establishment of drinking water systems.” Treasury breaks out the block allocations for cities, states , counties , territories and non-entitlement units of government (local governments with populations of less than 50,000) as well. Non-entitlement units do not apply directly to Treasury, but through their state governments. Questions? Please contact Tommy Holmes , AWWA senior manager of legislative affairs.