In November 2021, President Joe Biden signed into law H.R.3684 - Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (BIF). This law includes significant new investments in American infrastructure, including upgrades to roads and bridges, the U.S. power grid and, of particular interest to WQA members, water infrastructure.
The majority of the water infrastructure funding in the bill is dedicated to improvements at large municipal systems, but the law does include some policy provisions affecting the point-of-use/point-of-entry (POU/POE) market.
Specifically, the law modifies the EPA’s Small, Underserved, and Disadvantaged Communities Grant Program to allow states and their subgrant awardees (small communities or water systems) to use those EPA grant funds on POU/POE devices.
Prior to the change, communities could only use grant funds on POU/POE devices if the entire water system used those devices as their compliance technology. Now, communities facing acute water quality problems can use EPA grant funding on these devices in a more targeted way.
What WQA members can do
While there will not be an opportunity for companies to apply for grant funding, since only states are allowed to apply, there are steps that WQA members can take to make sure that communities know about the change.
WQA members should reach out to their state-level officials and educate them regarding the change to the program. This will ensure that the states (who apply for and receive grant funding) and small communities and water systems (who are awarded subgrants by states to actually use EPA funding) are aware of this new opportunity.
Speaking with your state officials
Some suggested talking points for communications with state-level officials:
- As you may have heard, the recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework made changes to the EPA’s grant program for small, undeserved, and disadvantaged community grant program
- The program helps small communities facing water quality problems to finance water treatment upgrades
- The new law passed by Congress allows funds from this grant program to be used on Point-of-Entry and Point-of-Use devices
- For communities facing water quality issues, Point-of-Use and Point-of-Entry devices could represent a fast, efficient, and economic alternative to large-scale upgrades, especially when water quality issues are acute
- I would ask that you notify your small communities and water systems of this change, so that they are able to access this new opportunity and find the water quality solutions that work best for them
EPA's Small, Underserved, and Disadvantaged Communities Grant Program Website
Webinar: EPA’s Assistance to Small and Disadvantaged Communities Drinking Water Grant
EPA Slide Deck on WIIN Grant Programs