Emerging Contaminants (EC) in Small or Disadvantaged Communities Grant (SDC)
The Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities grant program will provide states and territories with grants to public water systems in small or disadvantaged communities to address emerging contaminants, including PFAS. Grants will be awarded non‐competitively to states and territories.
On February 13, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan announced the availability of $2 billion from President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) to address emerging contaminants, like Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in drinking water across the country. This investment, which is allocated to states and territories, will be made available to communities as grants through EPA's Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities (EC-SDC) Grant Program and will promote access to safe and clean water in small, rural, and disadvantaged communities while supporting local economies. Administrator Regan announced the water infrastructure investments in Maysville, North Carolina while holding a community roundtable with North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Elizabeth S. Biser and other state and local leaders.
EPA is also releasing the Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities Grant Implementation document. The implementation document provides states and communities with the information necessary to use this funding to address local water quality and public health challenges. These grants will enable communities to improve local water infrastructure and reduce emerging contaminants in drinking water by implementing solutions such as installing necessary treatment solutions.
This grant focuses on projects in which the primary purpose is to address the challenges of PFAS in drinking water, whether it is found in the public water system or in source water. Projects that address any contaminant listed in any of EPA’s Contaminant Candidate Lists are also eligible. To continue the use of the funds to maximize public health protection, EPA also encourages states to address perchlorate and contaminants that have higher levels of health concerns in small and disadvantaged communities. BIL provides $50 billion to EPA’s water programs. Of that amount, $5 billion is appropriated to the EC-SDC grant program. In spring of 2022, the agency announced a Letter of Intent (LOI) whereby states and territories seeking grant funding were to submit LOI correspondence to EPA. EPA used this information to allocate funds according to a formula and administer the grant accordingly.
The EC-SDC grant program's annual appropriation is $1 billion for each fiscal year from FY2022-2026. There is no cost-share/match applicable for the funding made available under this grant program.
EPA awards funding to states based on an allocation formula that includes factors such as population, number of water systems, and data related to emerging contaminants.
View the FY22-23 EC Allotment Memo (pdf)
Established as a noncompetitive grant program, eligibility to apply for and receive funds is limited to the fifty states and Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
States are to use this funding to make grants to eligible emerging contaminant projects and/or activities in small or disadvantaged communities. The target beneficiaries are the eligible recipients for this grant, communities as described in section 1459A of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA):
- “Disadvantaged Community” is one determined by the state to be disadvantaged under the affordability criteria established by the state under section 1452(d)(3) of the Safe Drinking Water Act or may become a disadvantaged community as a result of carrying out a project or activity under the grant program. As with the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program, each state has statutory discretion to set its own criteria.
- “Small Community” is one that has a population of less than 10,000 individuals that the Administrator determines does not have the capacity to incur debt sufficient to finance a project or activity under the grant program. This is a statutory definition.
EPA will distribute the national tribal allotment of 2% of the appropriations, estimated at $20M in FY22 funding, through the Grant Program as an allocation to regions based upon the Drinking Water Infrastructure Grants Tribal Set Aside Program (DWIG-TSA) allocation formula. Regional offices will develop the procedures and schedule for annual selection of projects and activities, obligation of funds, or distribution of grants.
States and territories will be able to apply for funding through the Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities grant program later this year. Eligible activities include:
- Efforts to address emerging contaminants in drinking water that would benefit a small or disadvantaged community on a per household basis;
- Technical assistance to evaluate emerging contaminant problems;
- Programs to provide household water-quality testing, including testing for unregulated contaminants;
- Local contractor training;
- Activities necessary and appropriate for a state to respond to an emerging contaminant.
In addition to the release of the first allotment memo, EPA is releasing the implementation document for participating states and territories to use as guidance through the development and application submission for the grant. States and territories will collaborate with the EPA regional offices on draft projects and workplans for approval prior to applying for grant funding in Grants.gov and receiving awards. EPA will continue to provide additional resources to states and territories as the grant program moves forward in implementation, including communication on technical assistance and other topics relating to emerging contaminants.
When reviewing the draft workplans, EPA Regions must be able to determine that activities conform to all applicable requirements of the grant. Participating states must submit their final application package to the Grants.gov website. Participating states are encouraged to submit applications as soon as possible. Funding is anticipated to begin awarded to the states and territories as early as FY23. EPA Regional offices are the primary points of contact to approve grant applications and award funding.
Annually, the grant program will provide additional information or revise the document as necessary to continue providing efficient and transparent information pertaining to the implementation of the grant program.
Click here to view the Implementation Manual (pdf)
Click here to view Frequently Asked Questions about the EC-SDC Grant Program
An updated timeline is not yet available for the FY 2023 grant cycle and application process. A general overview of the application process is outlined below. All awarded projects are expected to have a project period of four years.
To learn more about the grant program, the following resources are available.
Emerging Contaminants SDC Factsheet (pdf)
BIL EC Funding Sources Comparison Factsheet (pdf)
Build America, Buy America (BABA) Act
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act ("IIJA") includes the Build America, Buy America Act ("the Act"). The Act strengthens Made in America Laws and will bolster America’s industrial base, protect national security, and support high-paying jobs. The Act requires that no later than May 14, 2022, 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.”
The Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Made in America Office released its guidance for implementing the Build America, Buy America Act. In regards to grant funding, OMB is proposing to revise the current OMB Guidance for Grants and Agreements. The proposed amendments are intended to provide guidance and clarify requirements for the manufactured products content test and non-ferrous construction materials. Public comments were due March 13, 2023.
- Build America, Buy America Act Implementation Webinar Presentation (April 2022) (pdf) (1.35 MB)
- Build America, Buy America Act Office of Water Implementation Procedures Webinar (November 2022) (pdf) (3.61 MB)
The Drinking Water Grants Program team is working to standardize and implement the process to support grant recipients with the BABA requirements and how to request/apply for a waiver if they are eligible. In that effort, we have established a grant inbox for the purpose of questions and eventually receiving waiver requests. Please do not hesitate to reach out to the grants team points of contact at HQ or send your questions/requests to BABA-DrinkingWaterGrants@epa.gov
Click here for Regional and State contacts: Regional and State Contacts
Agency Contact: Yvonne Gonzalez, firstname.lastname@example.org
Grant Contact: Lida Daly, email@example.com
For questions or more information on any of the WIIN grants, please contact WIINDrinkingWaterGrants@epa.gov