In November 2021, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill (BIL) was signed which provides for significant federal investments in transportation, broadband, water, and other types of infrastructure. Specifically, the BIL will deliver more than $50 billion to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for water infrastructure investments to improve our nation’s drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure - the single largest investment in water that the federal government has ever made. In many programs, the increased funding will flow to states, tribes, and communities over five years, beginning in 2022. Florida was allotted five additional funding sources under BIL.
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These five additional funding sources have not added new project eligibilities to either SRF program. Projects eligible to receive any of these new funding sources are currently eligible under the CWSRF and DWSRF. Furthermore, projects to receive the General Supplemental funding must meet all laws and rules of the existing SRF programs, which are low-interest loan programs with opportunities for eligible borrowers (aka disadvantaged communities or small and disadvantaged communities) to have a portion of the loan’s principal to be forgiven or paid off by a companion grant. Projects to receive DW or CW Emerging Contaminants or DW Lead Service Line Replacement funding will receive an exception to these rules so that the additional subsidization requirements from the law can be met. In other words, a non-disadvantaged community can be eligible to receive principal forgiveness under these funding sources only.
Summer 2022: The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (FDEP) SRF Programs have applied to EPA for CWSRF and DWSRF Base and General Supplemental funds.
Ongoing: Projects are considered for funding each August, November, February and May, depending on funding, and the initial paperwork to be considered at FDEP’s SRF Priority List meetings must be submitted 45 days in advance of those meetings.
Quarterly: Projects with complete applications are ranked and placed on the FDEP SRF Priority List.
Spring 2023 – Summer 2023: FDEP SRF Programs plan on applying to EPA for the Clean Water and Drinking Water Emerging Contaminants funds as well as the Drinking Water Lead Service Line Replacement Fund, provided there are enough projects on the intended use plans for which to apply.
This fund is in addition to the annual base Capacity Grant allocated by EPA to the participating states.
CWSRF is for wastewater, stormwater, and other eligible water quality infrastructure projects, while DWSRF is for all drinking water infrastructure projects.
Federal focus on increased investment in Disadvantaged Communities via Environmental Justice. However, Florida’s current rule structure already focuses its funding on small and disadvantaged communities through subsidized loans for planning, design and construction of water and wastewater infrastructure, as well as increase prioritization on the fundable list.
At least 49% of the fund must be given out in the form of Principal Forgiveness (but not necessarily each loan recipient receiving 49% principal forgiveness).
Required to meet Build America, Buy America (BABA) Act, requiring that no later than May 14, 2022—180 days after the enactment of the IIJA—the head of each covered Federal agency shall ensure that “none of the funds made available for a Federal financial assistance program for infrastructure, including each deficient program, may be obligated for a project unless all of the iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in the project are produced in the United States.” (Build America, Buy America (BABA) Act, P.L. 117-58, Secs 70911 - 70917).
Same requirements of current CWSRF and DWSRF laws and rules for Florida. There is no plan to expand the “disadvantaged” definition for the first few years of BIL spending. DWSRF is already flexible in its definition.
This additional fund is specifically for the abatement of emerging contaminants in wastewater, stormwater or surface water.
Eligible projects must be otherwise CWSRF eligible with the primary purpose of addressing emerging contaminants either at a wastewater treatment plant, reuse system, stormwater or control of nonpoint source pollution.
Emerging contaminants include but are not limited to PFAS and other persistent organic pollutants; biological contaminants and microorganisms; some compounds of pharmaceuticals and personal care products; nanomaterials and microplastics; and harmful algal blooms in surface waters.
100% of the funding will be given in the form of Principal Forgiveness. In accordance with Rule 62-503.850, F.A.C., eligible projects for this funding will be given an exemption from having to qualify as a small, disadvantaged community to receive principal forgiveness.
Examples of eligible projects include but are not limited to upgrading treatment for known level of PFAS; developing a new water source free from EC; consolidation and blending to address known PFAS levels; construction of a new community water system to take contaminated private wells offline; and the planning and design of a project to address an emerging contaminant or contaminants.
25% of funding must be used for either disadvantaged communities or those that serve less than 25,000 people.
100% of the funding will be given in the form of Principal Forgiveness. In accordance with Rule 62-552.300(8), F.A.C., eligible projects for this funding will be given an exemption from having to qualify as a small, disadvantaged community to receive principal forgiveness.
This additional fund is specifically for the replacement of lead service lines.
Lead Service Line Inventory work is eligible as a planning loan project.
Design and bidding for Lead Service Line replacement projects is an eligible project as a design loan project.
Any project funded under this supplemental funding must replace entire lead service line (LSL), not just a portion, unless a portion has already been replaced.
Galvanized Pipe and Goosenecks are only eligible if they are or have previously been downstream of known lead service lines.
Internal (aka premise) plumbing and apparatuses are NOT currently eligible for this supplemental funding as it is not DWSRF eligible. This includes plumbing and water coolers in schools and daycares, as well as plumbing inside homes and multifamily residential buildings.
49% of the funding will be given in the form of Principal Forgiveness to disadvantaged communities. For the purpose of the LSL funding, disadvantaged communities includes utilities that qualify as disadvantaged per Chapter 62-552, F.A.C., as well as utilities serving areas identified as disadvantaged in accordance with the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool.
This funding will be provided at a zero percent financing rate.
Florida has set aside $3 million from this year’s allotment for the purpose of assisting small Community Water Systems with meeting the requirement of the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions to create an LSL inventory of their system. Please contact Florida Rural Water Association for information.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.