2021 Financial Capability Assessment for Clean Water Act Obligations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) signed a Federal Register notice finalizing the 2021 Financial Capability Assessment (FCA) for Clean Water Act (CWA) Obligations. A pre-publication of the 2021 FCA is available until the official version is published in the Federal Register, which has been delayed until the document can be reviewed by the Biden Administration, as part of the Regulatory Freeze Pending Review Memorandum that White House Chief of Staff Ronald Klain issued in January.

When the official version is published, the 2021 FCA will replace the 1997 Guidance for Financial Capability Assessment and Schedule Development. The 2021 FCA guidance includes new metrics that more accurately reflect how much low-income communities can afford to pay for service, which impacts the affordability of capital expenditures and operation and maintenance needed to ensure CWA compliance.

Additionally, the USEPA says it will apply the options and flexibilities from Appendix D of the 2021 FCA when considering economic impacts for public entities seeking revisions to designated uses, water quality standard (WQS) variances, and antidegradation reviews for WQS.