Statement from EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler on the Water Infrastructure Funding Transfer Act
WASHINGTON (Oct. 7, 2019) — Today, as we continue to celebrate Children’s Health Month, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler released the following statement on the Water Infrastructure Funding Transfer Act, which was signed into law by President Trump on Friday, adding flexibility to the State Revolving Funds (SRF) program to help finance projects that reduce lead in drinking water.
“President Trump has made reducing lead exposure a top priority across his administration, and his signature of this new law is yet another example of the ways we are providing communities with additional tools to protect their drinking water,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This new law gives our state and local partners an important flexible financing option to fund projects that will reduce lead in drinking water and protect public health, especially the health of our nation’s children.”
The Water Infrastructure Funding Transfer Act allows transfers from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) to the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) during a one-year period ending on October 4, 2020, in an amount up to 5% of the state’s cumulative CWSRF federal grant dollars. The transferred funds may be used to provide financial support in the form of forgiveness of principal, negative interest loans or grants (or any combination). This authority is in addition to the existing transfer authority under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
In December of 2018, the Administration unveiled its Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Impacts. This plan includes robust actions across the federal government, including EPA’s development of innovative approaches to help finance projects that reduce exposure to lead or other contaminants in drinking water. For example, in 2018 and 2019, EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program prioritized projects that address lead and other contaminants in drinking water systems. In 2018, the program invited 12 projects that will reduce exposure to lead and other contaminants to apply for WIFIA financing. Additionally, EPA is issuing grants under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act to fund lead reduction projects and to support the voluntary testing of drinking water in schools and childcare centers. EPA has also supported the use of the DWSRF to help finance lead mitigation projects.