The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) recently announced the availability of $2.6 billion in new funds to assist States, Tribes and territories with improving drinking water and wastewater infrastructure across the country. In 2019, USEPA is making available more than $1 billion in new Federal grant funding for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). This funding can be used for loans that help drinking water systems install controls to treat contaminants such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and improve distribution systems by removing lead service lines. In addition, more than $50 million in DWSRF grant funding is available to Tribes, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia to use for drinking water system upgrades.
USEPA is also providing approximately $1.6 billion in new federal grant funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF). This funding is available for a wide range of water infrastructure projects, including modernizing aging wastewater infrastructure, implementing water reuse and recycling, and addressing stormwater. More than $64 million in CWSRF grant funding is available to Tribes, certain U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia for infrastructure projects.
The State Revolving Funds (SRFs) require State match, loan repayments, and interest that flows back to the funds. With more than 30 years of Federal capitalization grants and State contributions, approximately $80 billion has been invested into these programs. According to the USEPA’s estimate of national drinking water and wastewater needs, over $743 billion is needed for water infrastructure improvements. Through loan repayments and investment earnings, the SRFs have leveraged these contributions to provide more than $170 billion in financial assistance to over 39,900 water quality infrastructure projects and 14,500 drinking water projects across the country.
The States and Puerto Rico contribute an additional 20 percent to match the federal grants. The 51 SRF programs function like infrastructure banks by providing low-interest loans to eligible recipients for drinking water and clean water infrastructure projects. As the loan principal and interest are repaid over time, it allows the state’s DWSRF or CWSRF to be recycled or “revolve.”