The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) is set to provide one of the largest amounts of federal funding the U.S. water infrastructure sector has ever received.
“We've never seen funding like this in the water sector, so there's a lot of excitement around what the BIL provides,” said Juan Diaz-Carreras, WSP USA Southern California/Nevada district water business line leader.
Over the life of the BIL, $55 billion will fund 20 programs managed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and another $10 billion will fund 12 programs managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The funding is a mix of grants and low interested loans.
“I think one of the interesting things that the BIL is trying to do in the water sector is to really push innovation for initiatives like lead reduction, new technologies, using stormwater as a water supply resource, and how to look at reuse in fresh ways,” Diaz-Carreras said. “The new programs are oriented around innovative ideas and ways to support underserved and historically disadvantaged communities, rural communities and tribal governments.”
New water infrastructure grant and loan programs in the BIL include:
- Lead Reduction Grant Program
- Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Grant Program
- Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Grant Program
- Public Treatment Connection Grant Program
- New Tech Grant Program
The BIL is also boosting its support of several existing EPA grant and loan programs, including:
- Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act
- Clean Water State Revolving Fund
- Drinking Water State Revolving Fund
- Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities
“Existing programs are receiving large increases in their funding allotments,” Diaz-Carreras said. “It's really interesting how they're tweaking those programs to make the money more accessible and encourage more folks to apply for it.” The BIL also directs that the State managed revolving fund programs provide a certain amount of loan forgiveness, essentially transforming those programs into partial grants programs.