Drinking Water Infrastructure Grants - Tribal Set-Aside Program
Drinking Water Infrastructure Grants - Tribal Set-Aside Program
On this page:
- Program overview
- Program eligibility requirements
- Annual allocation
- Program Implementation
- Program contacts
The 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SWDA), established the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). The SDWA also authorized EPA to set-aside up to 1.5% of the DWSRF for grants to improve the infrastructure of drinking water systems that serve Tribes (SDWA §1452i). Starting in 2010, Congress increased the Tribal set aside funds to 2%.
Through this authority, EPA established the Drinking Water Infrastructure Grants Tribal Set-Aside (DWIG-TSA) Program.
Community water systems and non-profit, non-community water systems that serve a Tribal population are eligible to have projects funded, in whole or in part, with DWIG-TSA funds. Information about implementation of the DWIG-TSA program can be found in the Program Implementation section below. Examples of program successes can be found here: 20 Years of Protecting Public Health on Tribal Lands: EPA Drinking Water Infrastructure Grants.
The 2016 Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN Act) expanded the activities that are now eligible for DWIG-TSA funds, to include training and operator certification programs.
The 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provided a historic $15 billion in dedicated funding through the DWSRF and DWIG-TSA appropriation for lead service line identification and replacement and $4 billion in dedicated funding for addressing perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and other emerging contaminants. The table below provides a summary of the four types of funding available to Tribes under the DWIG-TSA.
|DWIG-TSA Funding Program Name
|Total Amount Available to Tribes in Fiscal Year 2023
|Funds improvements to public water systems (PWS) serving Tribes, focusing on facilitating compliance with NPDWRs; includes training and operator certification programs; program goals also include improved access to drinking water.
|DWIG-TSA General Supplemental
|Additional funding appropriated under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to supplement the DWIG-TSA Base funds in FY 2022- FY 2026. Administration of these funds will follow the same requirements and procedures as Base funds.
|DWIG-TSA Lead Service Line Replacement Supplemental
|Additional funding appropriated under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law specifically for lead service line identification and replacement in water systems serving Tribes.
|DWIG-TSA Emerging Contaminants Supplemental
|Additional funding appropriated under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law specifically for activities to address PFAS and other emerging contaminants in water systems serving Tribes.
Any federally recognized Tribe is eligible to receive a grant. If the Indian Health Service (IHS) agrees, Tribes may request that IHS receive the project funds to administer the project.
Funds can be used only for planning and construction expenditures at community or non-profit non-community drinking water systems that serve Tribes. Funds must be used to address the most significant threats to public health.
These funds cannot be used for compliance monitoring, operation, and maintenance of a system.
Examples of projects funded by the DWIG-TSA Base funding program are:
- Rehabilitation or development of sources of drinking water;
- Installation or upgrade of treatment facilities;
- Installation or upgrade of storage facilities;
- Installation or replacement of transmission or distribution pipes; or
- Replacement of aging water system infrastructure.
Projects can also be funded to develop project engineering reports, engineering design work and project administration.
Program-Specific Eligibility Requirements:
- DWIG-TSA Base and General Supplemental: Funds may be used only for projects that facilitate compliance with the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWRs) or will further the health protection objectives of the SDWA.
- DWIG-TSA Lead Service Line Replacement Supplemental: Funds may be used for lead service line replacement projects and associated activities directly connected to the identification, planning, design, and replacement of lead service lines. Any project funded under this appropriation involving the replacement of a lead service line must replace the entire lead service line, not just a portion, unless one portion has already been replaced or is concurrently being replaced with another funding source. Additional information on BIL lead service line replacement funding, with examples of eligible projects and activities to be funded under this DWIG-TSA appropriation, can be found in the BIL SRF Implementation Memo.
- DWIG-TSA Emerging Contaminants Supplemental: Funds may be used for projects and activities that address emerging contaminants in drinking water with a focus on PFAS. Projects with a primary purpose to address a contaminant for which EPA has promulgated a National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) are not eligible for funding under this appropriation with the exception of PFAS. For example, a project whose primary purpose is to address arsenic or nitrate in drinking water is not eligible for this funding because arsenic and nitrate are regulated under the NPDWRs, however, these types of projects may be eligible for funding under the DWIG-TSA Base or General Supplemental appropriations. Additional information on BIL emerging contaminants funding, with examples of eligible projects and activities to be funded under this DWIG-TSA appropriation, can be found in the BIL SRF Implementation Memo.
EPA uses formulas to allocate DWIG-TSA program funds among the EPA Regional Offices annually. Information about the allocation formulas and the the associated Tribal consultation process can be found here:
- Regional Allocation Formulas for Non-Competitive Tribal Drinking Water Infrastructure Grants: An Amendment to the Drinking Water Infrastructure Grants – Tribal Set-Aside Program Revised Guidelines (pdf)
- Potential Revisions to the DWIG-TSA Allocation Formula Tribal Consultation Summary (pdf)
Information on Regional allotments of DWIG-TSA funds can be found here: Current and Historical DWIG-TSA Allocations
Information on Regional allotments of FY22 and FY23 funds can also be found in the following funding memoranda:
Determining Tribal Drinking Water Funding Needs
EPA’s Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment (DWINSA) reports funding needs that are required to maintain and improve the nation’s drinking water infrastructure to protect public health. These needs include projects to ensure compliance with the SDWA that are eligible for funding under the DWSRF and the DWIG-TSA. As part of the DWINSA, EPA documents the 20-year capital investment needs for American Indian and Alaska Native Village water systems.
As directed by the SDWA, EPA uses the results of the survey as a tool for allocating DWSRF to the Tribes. The following links provide information from the latest survey, conducted in 2021, and previous surveys that included Tribal water systems:
- 7th Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment Fact Sheet – April 2023 – Provides an overview of the 7th DWINSA conducted in 2021
- 7th Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment FAQs – April 2023
- 2011 Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment: Fifth Report to Congress - Documents the fifth DWINS conducted by EPA in 2010.
- EPA’s 2011 Drinking Water Needs Survey and Assessment Fact Sheet.
- Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey-First Report to Congress - Documents the first DWINS conducted by EPA in 1997.
In fiscal year 2012, Congress provided EPA with the authority to transfer funds between the Clean Water Indian Set Aside (CWISA) and DWIG-TSA Programs. In 2013, EPA began implementing this authority by allowing Regions to transfer up to 33% of a Region’s DWIG-TSA allotment between the two programs. DWIG-TSA and CWISA funding appropriated under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law may be transferred between the two programs with some limitations. Regions may only transfer funds between the specific Bipartisan Infrastructure Law appropriations in the equivalent CWISA or DWIG-TSA program. In other words, Regions may only transfer funds between the CWISA and DWIG-TSA Bipartisan Infrastructure Law General Supplemental grants or between the CWISA and DWIG-TSA Emerging Contaminants grants. Because there is no similar CWISA appropriation for Lead Service Line Replacement, no funds may be transferred from or to the DWIG-TSA BIL Lead Service Line Replacement appropriation. Regions also may not transfer BIL appropriations to or from base appropriations.
The Role of the EPA Regions
EPA Regions approve grants to Tribes to address drinking water infrastructure needs under DWIG-TSA. Regions are responsible for developing a quantifiable approach for project selection that is consistent with the “Drinking Water Infrastructure Grants Tribal Set-Aside Program: Revised Guidelines Final, December 2013.” Each Regional office has its own method of identifying and prioritizing projects to be funded under the DWIG-TSA program.
The following documents contain detailed information to guide the implementation of the DWIG-TSA programs:
- Drinking Water Infrastructure Grants Tribal Set-Aside Program: Revised Guidelines, December 2013: This document contains information to guide the implementation of all DWIG-TSA programs. It includes information on funding eligibilities and program implementation roles and responsibilities. The documents below supplement these basic program guidelines with information on implementing DWIG-TSA program components established under the 2016 WIIN Act and the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
- Amendments to the Drinking Water Infrastructure Grants Program as Required by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act Memo: The 2016 WIIN Act expanded the activities that qualify for DWIG-TSA to include training and operator certification for operators of public water systems serving American Indians and Alaskan Natives. This memorandum provides direction on the implementation of these new eligibilities under the DWIG-TSA.
- Implementation of the Tribal Water Infrastructure Appropriations in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Memorandum, May 27, 2022: This memorandum describes EPA’s approach to implementing the Tribal set-asides of the water infrastructure appropriations in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, including the funds appropriated for lead service line replacement and emerging contaminants.
Contact your region’s EPA Regional Drinking Water Infrastructure Grant Tribal Set-Aside Coordinators, for more information on DWIG-TSA and its implementation.