Written by IAPMO 10:59 pm Industry News, Plumbing News, Plumbing News

Biden-⁠Harris Administration Announces Nearly $6 Billion for Clean Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure as Part of Investing in America Tour

Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda, Every U.S. State and Territory Will Receive Funding for Clean Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure

Today, Vice President Kamala Harris and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan will travel to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as part of the Administration’s Investing in America Tour to announce $5.8 billion in funding for clean water infrastructure from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. President Biden and Vice President Harris are committed to ensuring a future where every child and family has access to clean, safe water, and today’s announcement brings the total amount of clean water funding announced by EPA from the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to $22 billion. The Infrastructure Law invests a total of over $50 billion to upgrade America’s water infrastructure, the largest investment in clean water in American history.

Over two million people in America live without running water, tens of millions more lack access to safe and reliable drinking water and sanitation, and over nine million homes, daycares, and businesses receive their water through a toxic lead pipe. Due to decades of inequitable infrastructure development and underinvestment, lack of access to clean water disproportionately affects low-income and underserved communities. President Biden and Vice President Harris believe this is unacceptable and must change. No child, no family, no teacher, and no American should lack access to clean water.

Today’s announcement delivers funding to every single state and territory in the country to expand access to clean drinking water, replace lead pipes, improve wastewater and sanitation infrastructure, and remove PFAS contamination in water. Additionally, thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, nearly half of this funding will be provided as grants or forgivable loans to disadvantaged communities, advancing President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative and ensuring that no community is left behind. Today’s announcement will build upon the progress President Biden and Vice President Harris have already made to ensure every American can access clean water. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Administration has launched over 1,300 drinking water and wastewater projects across the country, including projects that will replace hundreds of thousands of lead service lines. To tell the story of how these transformative projects are impacting communities across the country, EPA is launching a new Investing in America’s Water Infrastructure Storymap today.

See below for details on key progress the Administration has made delivering clean water across America:

Delivering Clean Drinking Water

  • Today, EPA is announcing over $3.2 billion through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to expand access to clean drinking water across the country, bringing the total amount of funding announced under this category to $8.9 billion. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests nearly $31 billion in funding for a wide range of drinking water projects, including upgrades to water treatment plants, water distribution and piping systems, PFAS treatment, and lead pipe replacement.
  • One community benefitting from this funding is Ridgway, Colorado, where over 50,000 people rely on a single water treatment plant that is vulnerable to failure, putting their drinking water supply at risk. Through a $50 million investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the community will be able to build an additional treatment plant and extend service to additional communities, helping to ensure safe, reliable drinking water for the region.
  • The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation is investing $1 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to construct seven major Rural Water Projects to deliver new supplies of clean drinking water to rural communities. In addition, the Department of the Interior has awarded $160 million for the Arkansas Valley Conduit, a planned 230-mile water pipeline that will deliver clean water to 50,000 people in southeastern Colorado whose groundwater supplies may be contaminated with radionuclides. The project was initially authorized by President John F. Kennedy in 1962 and has now finally accelerated construction under the Biden-Harris Administration, with the first pipeline breaking ground and construction contracts awarded for multiple new segments in the past year.
  • The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative – the largest investment in the Great Lakes in two decades – received $1 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help provide healthy ecosystems and safe drinking water for the 20 million Americans who rely on the Great Lakes. The program will completely restore eleven highly contaminated sites in the Great Lakes, three of which have already broken ground. Projects include the Milwaukee Estuary in Wisconsin and Cuyahoga River in Ohio, which have received a combined $415 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to clean up millions of cubic yards of contaminated sediment.

Replacing Lead Pipes

  • The general-purpose drinking water funding announced today can also be used to replace toxic lead pipes, accelerating progress towards the President’s goal of replacing every lead service line in the country.
  • The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law also includes a historic $15 billion in dedicated funding for lead pipe replacement. To date, EPA has announced $6 billion of this funding, which will help replace hundreds of thousands of lead pipes. EPA will announce additional lead pipe replacement funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure for 2024 in the coming months.
  • Since Vice President Harris last visited Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in June 2022 to highlight the importance of replacing lead pipes and securing clean water access, the city has received $42 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for lead pipe replacement, helping Pittsburgh towards its goal of replacing 100% of its lead pipes by 2026.
  • In November 2023, EPA proposed updates to the Lead and Copper Rule that require water systems to replace lead service lines within 10 years. EPA is also financing major lead pipe replacement projects through its WIFIA (Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act) loan program. EPA announced low-interest loans of $340 million to the City of Philadelphia and $336 million to the City of Chicago to replace tens of thousands of lead pipes while creating thousands of jobs.
  • The Administration’s Get the Lead Out (GLO) Initiative – launched in November 2023 as a part of the President’s goal of replacing all lead service lines within a decade – establishes a partnership with 200 underserved communities nationwide to provide the technical assistance they need to access federal funding and remove lead service lines from their communities. This initiative builds on EPA and the Department of Labor’s partnership with 40 underserved communities to support lead pipe replacement.

Improving Wastewater and Sanitation Infrastructure

  • Today, EPA is announcing over $2.6 billion through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund for a range of projects to improve wastewater, sanitation, and stormwater infrastructure, bringing the total funding announced for this purpose to $7 billion. Inadequate wastewater or sanitation systems put communities’ health at risk, and in total, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests nearly $13 billion in wastewater funding to expand and upgrade these critical systems across the country.
  • Last week, EPA announced an expansion of its successful Closing America’s Wastewater Access Gap Community Initiative to help an additional 150 underserved communities plan wastewater projects and access funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Through the pilot of this initiative, EPA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have been assisting 11 communities since 2022.
  • One member of the Wastewater Access Gap initiative is Lowndes County, Alabama, where roughly 90% of households have failing wastewater systems and many children and families are exposed to raw sewage in their own backyards. Through the program, EPA and USDA have worked with the Lowndes County community of White Hall to secure over $500,000 in federal funding for wastewater projects to date. In the Lowndes County community of Hayneville, EPA has awarded a 100% forgivable $8.7 million loan to address failing or non-existent wastewater systems in 650 homes.
  • Since President Biden took office, the Indian Health Service in the Department of Health and Human Services has allocated $1.4 billion in funding from the Infrastructure Law to over 650 projects to build sanitation infrastructure in Tribal communities.

 Cleaning Up PFAS Pollution in Water

  • The funding announced today includes over $1 billion dedicated to addressing emerging contaminants like PFAS, bringing the total funding announced for emerging contaminants to nearly $5 billion. PFAS “forever chemicals” can be present in drinking water or wastewater and contribute to a variety of harmful health impacts, including developmental challenges in children and increased risk of cancer. In total, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests $10 billion to help communities build new treatment systems to remove PFAS pollution. Additionally, thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, 100% of funding to remove emerging contaminants like PFAS will be provided as grants or forgivable loans, greatly reducing barriers for all communities with PFAS contamination.
  • One community benefitting from this funding is the city of Tucson, Arizona, where drinking water supplies have been stressed by both drought and the pollution of drinking water wells by harmful PFAS and other chemicals. Through a $33.5 million forgivable loan, the city will build a new drinking water treatment facility to eliminate these contaminants and restore clean drinking water for the community.
  • In March 2023, EPA proposed the first-ever national drinking water standard for PFAS under President Biden’s plan to combat PFAS pollution and EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap. Expected to be finalized in 2024, these drinking water standards will establish legally enforceable levels for six PFAS chemicals, a major step to protect public health from PFAS pollution.

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Last modified: February 21, 2024