Funding to Improve Drinking Water Available to Small & Disadvantaged Communities

There is $87 million in grant funding to assist with improving drinking water. States, Tribes, and territories are eligible to receive funding from new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency drinking water grant programs established by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN).

Under the USEPA’s new Assistance for Small and Disadvantaged Communities grant program, the USEPA will award $42.8 million in grants to support underserved communities with bringing public drinking water systems into compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Funding can also be used for conducting household water quality testing, including testing for unregulated contaminants.

A “disadvantaged community” is determined using the affordability criteria established by the State under section 1452(d)(3) of the SDWA. Communities are also eligible if they may become a disadvantaged due to carrying out a project. The “small community” designation includes populations of less than 10,000 people that lack the capacity to incur enough debt to finance a project that complies with the SDWA.

The Assistance for Small and Disadvantaged Communities grant program requires that the community served be either small OR disadvantaged as specified in the statute. It is not required to be small AND disadvantaged. Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Utah have each been allotted $420,000 in grant funding under the program. Minnesota will receive $646,000, Wisconsin will get $722,000, and Colorado is slated for $839,000.

Program participants will be asked to submit workplans to USEPA outlining their proposed project(s) for approval and funding. USEPA will announce funding details for another newly-created WIIN grant program dedicated to reducing lead in drinking water systems in the summer of 2019.

For more information on USEPA’s WIIN grants, click here. If you would like guidance on determining your community’s eligibility and navigating the application process, contact Ryan Graf, AE2S Nexus Financial Analyst and Funding Development Director.