The long-awaited U.S. Infrastructure Bill is still under debate and negotiation with house leaders waiting on an immediate vote and pushing off consideration into this week. Mason & Hanger is carefully watching given the number of changes that will result in water infrastructure and conservation projects from this historic Bill. This Bill will modernize and remediate our existing systems to take us through the next 50 years.
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Clean Drinking Water
The Infrastructure Bill is the largest investment in clean drinking water in American history, including dedicated funding to replace lead service lines and the dangerous chemical PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl). It will replace all the nation’s lead pipes and service lines. From rural towns to struggling cities, the deal invests in water infrastructure across America, including in Tribal Nations and disadvantaged communities that need it most.
The Bill’s funds will bring specific funding for the 17 states that make up the western half of the United States and are managed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. This funding is dedicated towards water storage, ground- water storage, and conveyance projects. There is also a focus on drought-related projects and drought-contingency planning. Additionally, for the Aging Infrastructure Account for activities including major rehabilitation and replacement activities – including specifically for water recycling and reuse projects (including desalination projects), as well as rural water projects.
- Competitive Grant Program for Large-Scale Water Recycling and Reuse Programs - Applicable to large-scale projects with large site areas to host a recharge or harvesting project, large water uses that could be reclaimed, etc. with the goal to provide substantial water supply benefits to the Reclamation States. Available funding capped at 25% of project cost – for providers of water/energy, states, etc.
- Competitive Grant Program for Small-Scale Water Recycling and Reuse Programs - Applicable to small projects that increase surface or ground water storage or conveyance projects. Focused on increasing reliability and/or flexibility of water supply. Available funding for Federal share of cost capped at 25% of project cost or $30M per project.
The Federal funding will assist with public groundwater recharge, aquifer storage and recovery, and water source substitution for aquifer projects. This will establish a working group, the Water Reuse Interagency Group, to study advanced clean water opportunities, including implementation of the February 2020 National Water Reuse Action Plan. The current focus is on reuse of treated wastewater and stormwater for agricultural, non-potable, or even potable uses, with the goal of providing an alternative source(s) of water that can be more reliable than traditional raw water sources, thus increasing resiliency in the face of climate-related crises and droughts. No specific appropriated funding here, but the formed committee will research and recommend future actions for implementation.
Hear from Maureen Drullard PE, CAP, LEED AP BD+C, GGP, Sr. Energy and Sustainability Engineer, on how the U.S. Infrastructure Bill supports water conservation, infrastructure, and modernizing our existing systems.
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