Senate passes infrastructure bill with major SRF increases

U.S. Capitol Building

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act after months of bipartisan negotiations between the Biden Administration and a bipartisan group of Senators.

The legislative package contains $550 billion in new spending, of which $55 billion will go toward clean and drinking water. Specifically, the bill’s provisions for the water sector include:

  • $11.713 billion each for both the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund for a total of $23.5 billion in new federal investment, of which half is required to be in the form of grants or 100% principal loan forgiveness. These SRF increases would be on top of additional funds that come through annual federal spending bills.
  • The SRFs would be further leveraged to deliver funding for specific concerns, with an additional $1 billion through the CWSRF and $4 billion through the DWSRF to address emerging contaminants including PFAS, and $15 billion through the DWSRF to address lead in drinking water.
  • Robust funding for EPA’s geographic programs supporting water quality around the country.

The bill also contains important authorizations for new key clean water programs which NACWA has advocated for including requiring EPA to conduct a study of low-income water assistance needs around the country and authorizing the Agency to stand up a pilot program of federal assistance for low-income households, as well as a Clean Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Sustainability grant program.

The bill also reauthorizes the Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Grants program at increased funding levels and reauthorizes the CWSRF at increased funding while also allowing states to provide a greater share of their CWSRF as additional subsidization. These changes to the CWSRF statute would facilitate higher funding levels for years to come, in addition to the direct funding provided in this package.

The provisions provided in this bill mark a critical step forward to improving the delivery of clean and safe water for households around the country and NACWA applauds that Congress has prioritized water as the bipartisan package took shape. However, the investments provided are only roughly half the amount initially proposed for water in an infrastructure bill. NACWA will continue working with Congress to advocate for the strongest package possible as negotiations advance with the U.S. House.

Adam Krantz, Chief Executive Officer of NACWA, issued the following statement:

“The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed today by the U.S. Senate marks a hopeful turning point in the federal government as a renewed funding partner with states and local communities in providing public clean water services.

“NACWA strongly supports this bipartisan bill and applauds the White House and the Senate leaders who worked across party lines to negotiate this deal. However, there is still much work to be done and NACWA looks forward to continuing to see the process move forward and ultimately deliver strong support for the public clean water sector – a vital infrastructure sector which protects the public health and environment. Clean water’s role in fundamental and must be placed on equal footing with other infrastructure sectors such as roads, bridges and broadband.”

“NACWA looks forward to continuing to work with the U.S. House of Representatives to ensure that a robust package supporting the critical work of clean water agencies in meeting the challenges of today and tomorrow is ultimately passed into law. NACWA thanks the many hardworking Senators who advocated for the public clean water sector during these negotiations.”

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