Contact Your Local Officials to Ensure Your Community Benefits from Recent Federal Investments in Water
With the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law last year, there is cause to be excited yet focused and vocal in anticipation of a one-time, 5-year program (2022-2026) that will increase the amount of grants and low-interest loans available to local governments, especially those considered disadvantaged communities, to fund lead service line replacements and other large water storage, treatment, and distribution upgrades.
Applications for these “state revolving funds” (learn more here) are time-consuming, very detailed, and often beyond the scope of a local government’s capacity. And while these loans are low-interest, many communities have not been able to afford taking out loans to pay for aging water infrastructure since this program was created by a 1996 amendment to the Safe Drinking Water Act.
We encourage residents to engage NOW with their local officials on this issue because of the upcoming annual deadlines for funding consideration. Many localities have already completed the process, and usually the number of qualified applicants outnumbers the available annual funding. If it is too late this year for your community, it is the perfect time to begin the process for next year to ensure your community has access to safe, affordable drinking water for decades to come.
How can you begin the conversation with your local officials?
- Ask if the local government has considered applying or has already applied to the state revolving fund for water infrastructure upgrades
- If not, share your concerns over needed water infrastructure upgrades in your community, such as lead line replacement
- Not sure if there are problems with your water infrastructure? Talk to your community about their perspective and ask local officials what upgrades are or will be needed in the future.
- Emphasize that this is a rare opportunity, time-sensitive, and time-consuming, but can deliver a lot of overdue assistance through both grants and/or loans
Let us know how your conversations go! Contact Kristen at 231-348-8200 x 9 or kristen@freshwaterfuture.