United States: Economic, energy and environmental transition 2021 end-of-year review: what does the law on infrastructure investment and employment contain?
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At the end of the year, Arnold & Porter publishes a series of blog posts focusing on some of the key environmental and energy provisions of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
The Infrastructure Investment and Employment Act – Fight against emerging contaminants
The recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) will provide states with $10 billion to address emerging contaminants in drinking water and wastewater. Emerging contaminants are the term for a wide range of compounds that can be found in groundwater, surface water, and municipal wastewater and are generally unregulated. This investment is part of the IIJA’s $50 billion investment to improve drinking water, stormwater and wastewater infrastructure in the United States.
The IIJA will provide funds to address emerging contaminants as follows:
- $5 billion to address emerging contaminants in drinking water in rural and disadvantaged communities. These funds to support drinking water projects will be distributed evenly over five fiscal years to the tune of $1 billion per year from 2022 to 2026. Funding will be provided to states for projects that address emerging contaminants in communities eligible for the assistance under Section 1459A of the Safe Drinking Water Act. The funds would enable these communities to purchase “point-of-entry or point-of-use filters and filtration systems…for the removal of contaminants of concern.”
- $4 billion to fight emerging contaminants in drinking water. This funding will be distributed through the State’s Drinking Water Revolving Fund to help water utilities address emerging contaminants in drinking water “with a focus on” harmful substances. and polyfluoroalkylated (PFAS). These funds will be spread evenly over five fiscal years at $800 million per year from 2022 to 2026 in the form of grants or principal forgiveness loans.
- $1 billion to address emerging contaminants in wastewater discharges. This funding will be distributed through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund as grants to address emerging contaminants in wastewater runoff. The IIJA anticipates that the funds will be used “to provide technical assistance to public rural, small and tribal wastewater treatment facilities.” The funds will be spread over five fiscal years with $100 million allocated in 2022 and $225 million per year allocated from 2023 to 2026.
The Biden Administration’s Bigger Effort to Address PFAS and Other Chemicals in Drinking Water
This $10 billion investment follows several recent actions by the Biden administration to address PFAS — a high administration priority — including the PFAS Strategic Roadmap announced in October 2021.
The EPA announced this week that it has finalized the Fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule to establish nationwide monitoring of twenty-nine types of PFAS and lithium in drinking water. This rule will allow the EPA to better understand the frequency and extent to which chemicals are found in drinking water systems, including whether there are any environmental justice issues. The rule is also expected to provide insight into drinking water systems that need future infrastructure funding to address emerging contaminants. Participating drinking water systems will collect samples from 2023 to 2025 with final results reported in 2026. Our environmental team will continue to monitor and report on developments in this area.
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