On March 15, President Joe Biden signed the Fiscal Year (FY22) Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which signals the first year of approved funding for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The bill includes $1.5 trillion in appropriated funding.
According to the National Association of Counties, the bill includes $55 billion in new funding for water infrastructure over five years. According to the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators, FY22’s approved funding provides $323 million in increased funding for EPA initiatives. The bill also includes the Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act, which aims to support cybersecurity for the nation’s critical infrastructure.
“It’s go time,” said Dennis D. Truax, President of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in a news release. “Passage of this bill releases vital funding for states and localities to implement much-needed programs to improve our nation’s infrastructure. This bill prevents the need for another Continuing Resolution this year and allows all funds from the infrastructure bill to be spent rather than being limited to last year’s levels.”
The legislation has already passed the Senate and is now fully approved. Before the bill had passed, agencies had continued to operate under budgets sized for 2021; agencies will now be able to use the funding that IIJA had earmarked for FY22 and for each successive five years.
What is in IIJA?
Alongside $1.5 trillion in other major investments in national infrastructure, IIJA provides $55 billion for water infrastructure projects over five years.
Much of this funding will come through the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs). Both programs are federal-state partnerships that provide communities with low-cost financing for water infrastructure projects, and each will receive $11.7 billion over five years.
The Water Environment Federation prepared a list of key water provisions within IIJA, which includes $4 billion in grants to address PFAS in drinking water and $15 billion in loans and grants for lead service line replacement.
According to Daniel Gaddy in the January edition of Waterworld Magazine, IIJA also includes several programs aimed at making water utilities more sustainable and resilient to environmental disasters. Including:
- $125 million to the Alternative Source Water Pilot Program, which provides communities with grants to pay for water recycling projects.
- $120 million to the Wastewater Energy Efficiency Grant Pilot Program, which will fund projects that create or improve waste-to-energy systems.
- $125 million to the Clean Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Sustainability Grant Program, an EPA project to help communities strengthen the resiliency of their publicly owned treatment works against natural hazards.