Grants for State and Interstate Agencies under Section 106 of the Clean Water Act
Each state and territory (including American Samoa, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, D.C.) has established programs to protect and restore fresh waters, coastal waters, and wetlands as outlined in the Clean Water Act (CWA). Section 106 grants support the implementation of these CWA programs including:
- Monitoring and assessing ambient water quality;
- Developing and reviewing water quality standards;
- Developing total maximum daily loads (TMDLs);
- Providing permits to dischargers through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES);
- Overseeing and enforcing NPDES permits;
- Developing watershed and groundwater plans; and
- Providing training and public information.
Each interstate agency has a charter that outlines its individual authorities. These authorities range from providing public information and training, to developing TMDLs and monitoring compliance with NPDES permits.
Section 106 funds cannot be used for construction, operation, or maintenance of waste treatment plants, or for activities financed by other federal grants.
- Is there guidance for state, territory, and interstate agency Section 106 programs?
- What requirements must a state, territory, or interstate agency meet to be eligible to receive Section 106 funds?
- How are Section 106 funds allocated to states, territories, and interstate agencies?
- How often are the data in the allotment formula updated?
- Are states, territories, and interstate agencies required to provide matching funds?
- Which interstate agencies receive Section 106 funds?
EPA's FY 2018 - FY 2019 National Water Program Guidance includes guidance for states, territories, interstate agencies, and eligible ribes. The guidance sets out EPA's priorities for the pollution prevention program while providing flexibility for states, territories, interstate agencies, and tribes to focus on their individual priorities. Section 106 guidance is found in the FY 2018 - FY 2019 National Water Program Guidance:
- FY 2018 - FY 2019 National Water Program Guidance
- FY 2020 - FY 2021 Draft Section 106 Supplemental Grant Guidance - This document is available for comment.
- FY 2020 - FY 2021 Draft National Water Program Guidance - This document is available for comment.
What requirements must a state, territory, or interstate agency meet to be eligible to receive Section 106 funds?
A state or territory may receive Section 106 funds if it:
- Has established and is operating appropriate devices, methods, systems, and procedures necessary to compile and analyze data on navigable waters;
- Has the authority to take action in cases of imminent and substantial endangerment to the health of persons; and
- Provides EPA with water quality inventory data required by the CWA. The information on water quality inventory is contained in EPA's biannual water quality report:
An interstate agency (also known as a basin commission or interstate compact commission) may receive Section 106 funds if it:
- Has jurisdiction over or responsibilities for activities in two or more states;
- Was established either by an agreement or compact approved by Congress, or approved by the EPA administrator; and
- Filed with the EPA administrator within 120 days after the enactment of section 106 of the CWA.
In addition, grant applicants must meet all grant requirements and have an approved work plan.
Each year the president’s budget includes a funding request for the Section 106 program. Congress, when developing the annual budget, uses the president’s request as a starting point for determining how much funding to appropriate for Section 106 grants.
Once the annual budget is finalized, EPA calculates Section 106 allotment funds to states, territories, and interstate agencies (not including Monitoring Initiative funds) using an allocation formula that funds “on the basis of the extent of the pollution problem in the state” (CWA section 106(a)(2)). The formula is published in the Code of Federal Regulations at 40 CFR Part 35.162 (PDF) (4 pp, 339 K, About PDF). Interstate agencies receive 2.6 percent of the overall state and territorial allotment.
If funding remains the same as the previous year, all states will receive their previous year’s allotment.
If available funding has increased over previous years, the formula calls for all states to receive:
- A funding floor (i.e., the previous year’s allotment) and
- An adjustment for inflation calculated using the historical consumer price index.
- Any additional funding is distributed based on the extent of water quality problems in each state or territory (or portion of the state for the interstate allotments), including surface water area, ground water use, water quality impairment, point source pollution, nonpoint source pollution, and population of urbanized areas.
The formula also establishes a funding ceiling limiting an allotment from increasing more than 150 percent from the previous year.
In years of decreased funding, each allotment is reduced by an equal percentage.
At a minimum, the data used in the formula must be updated every five years. EPA can update the formula more frequently, if necessary. The data in the formula were last updated in 2011.
The CWA requires states, territories, and interstate agencies to expend at least as much as they spent on their pollution control programs in 1971. This contribution is often referred to as the maintenance of effort, or MOE. However, many states, territories and interstates expend amounts well above the MOE.
There are six interstate agencies that receive Section 106 funds: The following links exit the site
- The New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) serves and assists its member states – Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont – by coordinating activities and forums that encourage cooperation among states, educating the public about key water quality issues, supporting research projects, training environmental professionals, and providing overall leadership in water management and protection.
- The Interstate Environmental Commission (IEC) works in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to protect and enhance environmental quality through cooperation, regulation, coordination, and mutual dialog between government and citizens in the tri-state area.
- The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) works with Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania in protecting and enhancing the water resources of the Delaware River Basin for present and future generations.
- The Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB) helps the Potomac Basin states of Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the District of Columbia to enhance, protect, and conserve the water and associated land resources of the Potomac River and its tributaries through regional and interstate cooperation.
- The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) works with Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. The commission operates programs to improve water quality in the Ohio River and its tributaries.
- The Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) works with New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland and provides the mechanism to guide the conservation, development, and administration of the water resources of the Susquehanna River Basin.