EPA greenlights 21 states’ SRF plans to fund LSL replacement projects

Tom Neltner, Senior Director, Safer Chemicals

What’s New: EPA announced it has awarded $1.16 billion to the State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs in 21 states, the District of Columbia, and three territories to support lead service line (LSL) replacement projects. In order to secure funding, these states developed and submitted Intended Use Plans (IUPs), which included LSL replacement projects that met EPA’s requirements.

Why It Matters: These 25 programs can now begin distributing their share of the first of five years of funding from the $15 billion Congress included in the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) specifically for full LSL replacement projects. The remaining states are working to get their IUPs submitted to EPA.

What are IUPs? EPA uses IUPs to ensure that states spend drinking water SRF funds consistent with the Safe Drinking Water Act and the agency’s regulations. The IUP includes a priority list of projects and a definition of the characteristics of a “disadvantaged community” that may be entitled to a grant, rather than a subsidized loan.

The plans must be revised annually. Each state’s public process must “seek meaningful public review and comment during the development of the IUP,”[1] describe the public review process, and respond to major comments and concerns.

Our Takeaway: We applaud these programs for completing their IUP revisions, as well as EPA for reviewing and approving IUPs in a timely manner—thus ensuring that the associated capitalization grants are administered consistent with the law and the agency’s March 2022 guidance. This year was particularly complicated as states adapted to the huge increase in funds from IIJA that were dedicated to specific purposes (such as LSL replacement).

Next Steps: The 25 programs that have received grants must now fund their priority projects to replace LSLs. For the remaining states, EPA must continue to be vigilant in its review, especially to ensure that disadvantaged communities receive the funds needed to accelerate full LSL replacement.

The States and Territories Are:

  1. Alabama
  2. Arizona
  3. California
  4. Colorado
  5. Connecticut
  6. Delaware
  7. Kansas
  8. Massachusetts
  9. Michigan
  10. Nebraska
  11. New Hampshire
  12. New Jersey
  13. Ohio
  14. Oklahoma
  15. Pennsylvania
  16. Rhode Island
  17. Tennessee
  18. Utah
  19. Vermont
  20. Virginia
  21. West Virginia
  22. District of Columbia
  23. Mariana Islands CNMI
  24. Guam
  25. American Samoa

[1] 40 C.F.R. § 3520.

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