The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) created new Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) program allocations over the next five years for lead service line replacement and inventories. This is a great opportunity for water systems to access additional grant funding (loan forgiveness) to complete lead service line inventories (LSLI) required by the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR).
LCRR Lead Service Line Inventories
The LCRR requires that all community public water systems and non-transient non-community public water systems submit a LSLI by October 16, 2024. This is a hard deadline according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), and systems should not anticipate any extensions.
BIL Funding Across the Upper Midwest & Rocky Mountain Region
Colorado is allotted $55 million each year from 2022 to 2026 to fund lead service line replacements and inventories, however the State is still determining how it will use the funding. At this stage, the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) has indicated that it may use the funds to hire a consultant to provide services to the State and complete the LSLIs rather than providing funding to individual water systems.
Minnesota’s Department of Health (MDH) has already begun outreach and engagement efforts on LSLI and available resources. Minnesota systems are especially fortunate because they have both Federal and State resources available to fund LSLI.
MDH estimates receiving $43 million per year for lead service line replacements and inventories through the DWSRF program. These funds will be disbursed as 49% grant and 51% loan.
The Governor’s office is proposing an additional $7.5 million in State grant funds for LSLIs and asset management plans. MDH is also requesting $5.1 million for FY23-FY24 for Lead Remediation in Schools and Childcare Settings.
The North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality (NDDEQ) anticipates it will receive $28 million per year for lead service line replacement and inventories. NDDEQ has indicated the plan is to fund LSLIs at 100% loan forgiveness. They will also fund lead service line replacements but at a lower cost-share of 49% forgiveness.
Water systems interested in accessing this funding must be on the annual Intended Use Plan. Questionnaires for this first round of BIL funding were due to NDDEQ on July 1, but systems will have the opportunity to submit questionnaires and qualify for funding annually.
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is waiting on additional guidance from USEPA to develop the framework of how it will award lead service line inventory/replacement funds. DEQ will distribute the funds through the normal DWSRF program with a mix of loan and grant funds, but the exact grant cost-share and application process have not yet been determined.
DEQ plans to send out a survey for water systems to identify what types of information they already have available. This will help DEQ learn where there are information gaps and what types of assistance would be most valuable for the State to provide.
South Dakota’s Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) plans to hire one or multiple firms to provide technical assistance to water systems and help them complete their LSLI inventories. The State is still drafting its request for proposals for the LSLI work and hopes to have public hearings to discuss this technical assistance sometime in late July or early August.
DANR does not plan to provide direct financial assistance for LSLIs but will provide forgiveness for lead service line replacements.
Utah’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) requests that systems complete a short form estimating the funds needed to complete a LSLI. These estimates will be used to show State need and allow the DEQ to request the lead service line funding from USEPA. DEQ has not shared plans on how the inventory funds will be distributed once they are received from USEPA.
How to Start Your Service Line Inventory
AE2S has created a team dedicated to working with systems and helping you develop an inventory. Contact Project Coordinator Rachel Schultz to learn more about how we can help.