U.S. Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act

U.S. Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act: Resources for the Water Sector

About the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act

Signed into law November 2021, the U.S. Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act), launched a new era of significant investment in rehabilitating and updating the nation’s water infrastructure. 

This federal law:

  • Reauthorizes several existing drinking water programs.
  • Greatly expands federal funding for water infrastructure and related programs over the next five years.
  • Commits $15 billion for lead service line replacement.

While this law addresses many infrastructure sectors, AWWA has compiled highlights of the drinking water and wastewater provisions of the Infrastructure Act — as well as related resources for water utilities and news about this law. The next challenge is to implement the programs and spending established by this law.

AWWA is committed to helping our members understand and access resources to get important water infrastructure projects done. If you are not already an AWWA member, please join AWWA today to access even more support for your valuable work in the water sector!

State Revolving Fund Contacts

Congress has directed that most Infrastructure Act funding for water projects will be channeled through state revolving loan fund (SRF) programs for drinking water and wastewater. SRFs are administered jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state, tribal and territorial agencies.


After EPA has issued guidance for administering these funds, states will begin to issue their own notices and solicit applications for funding.

EPA also has posted information for how Tribal Communities can access funds from the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

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Water Highlights of the Infrastructure Act of 2021

The U.S. Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, enacted in 2021, should kick-start many long overdue updates and improvements to the nation’s water infrastructure. This federal law reauthorizes many existing drinking water programs, appropriates expanded funding for water infrastructure and other programs, and commits $15 billion for lead service line replacement.

There are two main steps to distributing Infrastructure Act funding to local projects:

  • Authorization creates or extends the life of a government program and sets its mission and limits.
  • Appropriations is the legislative act that actually makes government money available.
     

What’s Happening Now

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released guidance on March 8 for implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.  Most of this funding will be paid out by states, via existing state revolving loan fund (SRF) programs, in the form of loans or grants.

Different agencies administer each state’s SRF program; AWWA has published a guide to state SRF contacts. These state agencies will accept and process water project funding applications. Fortunately, EPA staff told AWWA that agency personnel have been preparing to administer Infrastructure Act project funding since the summer of 2021.

Questions about Infrastructure Act funding?
Please email AWWA Government Affairs:
Legislative Director: Tommy Holmes
Legislative Analyst: Nate Norris

Index of Infrastructure Act highlights

  1. Authorizations for Drinking Water
  2. Appropriations for Drinking Water
  3. Related Appropriations
  4. Cybersecurity Support
  5. Buy American Requirements
  6. Authorizations for Wastewater
  7. Appropriations for Wastewater
  8. USDA Authorizations

1. Authorizations for Drinking Water
Authorization is an initial step. The release of funds requires appropriations legislation, which is also in this bill. (See section 2)

  • Extending existing SRF programs: $14.65 billion. This will fund state drinking water SRF programs for fiscal years 2022-2026. 
  • Small/disadvantaged communities: $510 million in assistance.
  • Reducing lead contamination: $500 million. For replacing lead service lines and related activities, with an emphasis on assisting disadvantaged communities.
  • Small systems: $250 million. To improve operational sustainability.
  • Mid-size/large systems: $250 million. For resilience and sustainability programs.
  • Schools: $200 million. For lead testing and remediation in K-12 public schools.
  • Emergency assistance: $175 million. Continues authorization of funding for technical assistance and grants to address emergencies affecting public water systems, including natural hazards and cybersecurity, over five years.
  • Technical assistance to small public water systems: $75 million. Continues authorization of funding for assistance to help small systems achieve and maintain compliance with drinking water regulations.
  • Emerging technology assessment: $50 million. A new study will assess new technologies to address cybersecurity and water monitoring issues at drinking water systems. Includes a grant program for technology deployment.
  • Water workforce: $5 million. Staff enhancement efforts drinking water and wastewater systems.
  • Low-income water bill assistance. Needs assessment for a nationwide program. Also, 40 pilot projects to provide financial assistance to low-income customers.


2. Appropriations for Drinking Water 

  • DWSRF funding: $11.713 billion. Administered by EPA, the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund provides funding to water systems and states. Nearly half (49%) of this is provided in the form of grants or loans with principal forgiveness. In FY 2022-2023, only a 10% state match is required. 
  • Water infrastructure financing: $50 million per year, FY 2022-2026. For programs created under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014 (WIFIA). 
  • Lead service line replacement: $15 billion. FY 2022-2026, $3 billion per year. Nearly half (49%) will be in the form of grants or loans with principal forgiveness, no state match required. 
  • Emerging contaminants: $9 billion. Of this, $4 billion will be administered by EPA through the DWSRF, in the form of grants or principal forgiveness, and with a focus on perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances. An additional $5 billion is earmarked as grants to address emerging contaminants in economically distressed communities, also to be distributed via the SRF program.
  • DWSRF baseline funding: $5.63 billion. $1.126 billion per year through FY2026 for the traditional SRF program

 
3. Related Appropriations

  • Brownfields remediation: $1.5 billion. Funding for brownfields projects under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).
  • Underground Injection Control: $50 million. For grants to support state efforts.


4. Cybersecurity Support Authorization

  • Water system risk assessment. EPA and the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) will identify public water systems that, if degraded or rendered inoperable, would lead to significant impacts on the public’s health and safety.
  • Technical support. EPA and CISA will develop a technical cybersecurity support plan for public water systems. These agencies also will submit to Congress a list of public water systems needing technical support.

5. Buy American Requirements

  • “Buy America” means that projects receiving federal funding assistance must use steel and iron products, as well as manufactured products and construction materials, that are produced in the U.S.
  • “Produced in the U.S.” means that a product was manufactured in the U.S. Also, the cost of its components that are mined, produced or manufactured in the U.S. must be greater than 55% of the total cost of the manufactured product.
  • Waivers may be granted when needed iron, steel, construction materials or manufactured products are not produced in the U.S. in sufficient and reasonably available quantities or of “satisfactory” quality.

 
6. Authorizations for Wastewater

  • Clean Water State Revolving Fund: $14.65 billion, FY 2022-2026. EPA administers the CWSRF, which helps fund wastewater and other water quality projects.
  • Overflow treatment: $1.4 billion. Grants to municipal entities through FY 2026, to control and treat sewer overflows and stormwater, and to provide public notification systems for overflow events. 
  • Residential septic systems: $250 million, through FY 2026. Grants to private nonprofit organizations to assist low/moderate-income households with the construction, repair or replacement of home septic system. Also may help fund the installation of larger septic systems designed to treat wastewater for two or more households.
  • New sewer system connections: $200 million through FY 2026. Grant program to help low/moderate-income households connect to publicly owned treatment works.
  • System resilience: $125 million through FY 2026. To establish a clean water infrastructure resiliency and sustainability program addressing natural hazards and cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
  • Alternative water sources: $125 million through FY 2026. Continuation of a pilot program helping municipal, industrial and agricultural interests identify alternative sources of water in areas with critical water supply needs.
  • Wastewater efficiency grants: $100 million through FY 2026. This will establish a pilot wastewater efficiency grant program. Owners or operators of publicly owned treatment works can undertake projects to create or improve waste-to-energy systems. 
  • Information sharing: $75 million through FY 2026. A competitive grant program will help establish systems that improve the sharing of information about water quality, water infrastructure needs, and water technology (including cybersecurity technology). This information will be shared between states, counties and other units of local government.
  • Circuit rider program: $50 million through FY 2026. Expert assistance to owners and operators of small/medium-sized, publicly owned treatment works.
  • Enhanced aquifer use and recharge: $25 million through FY 2026. Funding for research to support sole-source aquifers.
  • Watershed improvement assessment: $5 million. To assess capital improvement needs for watersheds.
  • Water Reuse Interagency Workgroup. EPA must establish this group, which will develop and coordinate actions, tools and resources to advance water reuse across the U.S. This includes implementation of the February 2020 National Water Reuse Action Plan.
  • Stormwater Centers of Excellence. EPA is to establish three to five Centers of Excellence for stormwater control infrastructure and technologies.
  • Future wastewater technology study. If funding is available, EPA would conduct a study of existing and potential future technology for wastewater treatment systems. This includes technologies to address cybersecurity vulnerabilities, enhance monitoring, or other improvements to the affordability, efficiency, and safety of wastewater services provided by a treatment works. 


7. Appropriations for Wastewater

  • Extended CWSRF funding: $11.713 billion through FY 2026 for the Clean Water Act state revolving loan fund program, administered by EPA.
  • CWSRF additional funding: $8 billion. $1.6 billion per year has been appropriated through FY2026.
  • Emerging contaminants: $1 billion. Increasing the CWSRF program’s ability to address emerging contaminants.


8. USDA Authorizations

  • Watershed rehabilitation: $118 million. For projects conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
  • $300 million for USDA to repair damages to waterways and watersheds due to natural disasters.

PDF version of these highlights

Resources for Water Utilities

Text of the legislation: Public Law 117–58, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021

EPA general program information:

Funding allocations:

  • EPA announcement to governors about Infrastructure Act funding. Includes an initial state-by-state of funding allocations for FY2022.
  • 2022 Allotments from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (2021). More specific breakdown of funding per state, territory and tribes, for both drinking water and clean water SRFs, with detail on funding for lead service line replacement and emerging contaminants. These allotments for the initial tranche of funds, which do not require a match by a state.

Additional AWWA resources:

Other resources:

QUESTIONS? Contact AWWA Government Affairs staff

News: Infrastructure Act Funding

These brief Infrastructure Act updates are provided as a free service from AWWA.

Want more Infrastructure Act news? JOIN AWWA today!

Utility Members of AWWA receive special Advisories and Insiders, which contain timely, useful information concerning the Infrastructure Act and other legislative, regulatory and public affairs issues.

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