Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Includes Grant Program for Decentralized Systems

After months of negotiations, President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684) into law on Nov. 15, 2021. While the bill would extend surface transportation programs for five years, additional funding would be authorized for energy, water and broadband infrastructure. Of particular interest to NOWRA members is the inclusion of language that will create the first dedicated EPA grant program for decentralized systems — the Decentralized Wastewater Grant Program.

Section 50208 of HR 3684 authorizes $50 million of funding for each of the fiscal years 2022–2026, for a total of $250 million. Eligible households can receive grants up to $15,000. The funds can be used “for the construction, repair or replacement of an individual household decentralized wastewater treatment system.” Funds can also be used “for the installation of a larger decentralized wastewater system designed to provide treatment for two or more households.”

The NOWRA Board of Governors and its government relations team in Washington, D.C., have been working with bipartisan congressional champions in the House and Senate to enact this program for several years, and are excited to see these efforts bear fruit. In June, NOWRA members from across the country also participated in a virtual advocacy day on Capitol Hill asking lawmakers to support the Decentralized Wastewater Grant Program. NOWRA would like to thank members who participated in this year’s advocacy day. Your collective voices helped make a difference and pushed Congress to pass this legislation.

The EPA will now begin the process of drafting new rules and regulations to implement this grant program. NOWRA will remain in communication with its partners at the agency to ensure the program best serves homeowners who rely on decentralized wastewater systems, as well as those who serve and supply them.


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