LENEXA, Kan. – On Thursday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of nearly $50 million in regular funding through the Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grant program to help communities address stormwater and sewer infrastructure needs. States may now apply for grant assistance to fund projects that will help municipalities strengthen their stormwater collection systems against increasingly intense rain events made worse by the climate crisis and prevent contaminants from polluting waterways.
Thanks to program updates made by the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America Agenda, the Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grant program will also ensure small and financially distressed communities receive grant assistance at no cost.
“Against the backdrop of extreme weather fueled by the climate crisis, heavy rainfall can flood communities, overload facilities that treat wastewater, and contaminate our waterways with sewage and pollution. Through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we’re providing communities with critical resources to manage stormwater and sewer overflows with resilient infrastructure to prevent these serious challenges,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “With $50 million in grant funding and new requirements under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Biden-Harris Administration is helping address the threat of stormwater inundation in communities that need it most.”
Stormwater management is a complex environmental challenge for communities across the country.
The cost to construct, operate, and maintain stormwater infrastructure can be significant, which can strain ratepayers, especially those in small and financially distressed communities. This investment follows changes made by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to prioritize projects for small and/or financially distressed communities and prevent cost share requirements from being passed on to these communities.
Stormwater can be a significant source of water pollution and a public health concern. Stormwater can collect various pollutants including trash, chemicals, oils, and dirt/sediment and convey them to nearby waterways. When mixed with domestic and industrial wastewater in combined sewers, stormwater can also contribute to combined sewer overflows during heavy storm events.
EPA is working with local and state partners to leverage the resources of the federal government to meet the needs of these communities. In the past, states and communities shared a fixed portion of the costs associated with all projects funded through the Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grant program. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law changed the program so that 25% of Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grant program funds go to available projects in small and/or financially distressed communities; it also limited states’ abilities to pass on the burden of cost sharing to these communities. To encourage investment in these critical projects, EPA modified the Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grant program so that state grantees are not required to contribute cost share money for Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grant program projects located in small or financially distressed communities. However, grant portions that go to communities other than small or financially distressed communities will include a cost share requirement.