When you hear infrastructure, your first thought is probably roads and bridges. But, water is part of that equation... a fairly substantial part of that equation really. Of the $550 billion in new spending, $55 billion is dedicated to drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure funding.
Getting contaminants out of the water
Much of the funding has been allotted towards eliminating contaminants in our water supply, as well as replacing lead pipes to prevent another disaster like Flint Michigan. This is a major change for the water industry intended to make clean water more reliably accessible to American families everywhere in the country regardless of location, income level, or other factors. Currently, 10 million American households and 400,000 schools and childcare centers lack access to clean drinking water. Per the White House fact sheet, “the legislation will invest in water infrastructure and eliminate lead service pipes, including in Tribal Nations and disadvantaged communities that need it most.”
PFAS are another major water contaminants focus of the Bill. PFAS stands for perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substances. Under the PFAS group of chemicals, you have PFOA (think chemical coatings like Teflon) and PFOS (an ingredient used in most fabric protectants). The plan is to tackle PFAS by 2024 as shown in this roadmap released from the Biden administration.
Plus, cleaner water into the system translates to less processing for use in production saving time and money for companies across a variety of industries.
What This Means for Water Treatment Facilities
So, how will the $55 billion earmarked for the water industry disperse? According to Waters & Wastes Digest, the intended breakdowns in funding are as follows:
$11.7 billion over five years for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund
The Alternative Source Water Pilot Program will get $125 million over the next five years
$4 billion will be provided in grants through the Drinking Water SRF to address PFAS in drinking water
$15 billion in loans and grants into Drinking Water SRF for lead service line replacement for municipalities
$11.7 billion over five years for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF)
The Wastewater Energy Efficiency Grant Pilot Program will receive $100 million over the next five years
$1 billion through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to address emerging contaminants
Decentralized Households grants will get $150 million over five years to help low-income homeowners construct or repair failing septic systems
The U.S. EPA Sewer Overflow & Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grant Program will receive $1.4 billion over the next five years
The Stormwater Infrastructure Technology Program will get $25 million to create five Stormwater Centers of Excellence
$50 million for stormwater infrastructure planning/development and implementation grants
EPA will get $5 million per year to complete the Clean Watershed Needs Survey biennially
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