FY 18 Disaster Funding Already Appropriated

In all of the ‘to do’ surrounding the extension of the Continuing Resolution through March 23, the release of the Administration’s FY 19 budget request for EPA, and EPA’s latest Strategic Plan, another measure contains funding available now for disaster relief.

On February 9, the President signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 into law.  Among a variety of provisions, this new law includes nearly $90 billion in disaster relief funds for Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico recovery efforts from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.  Separately, there are tax relief provisions for California wildfire recovery. Specific Federal disaster appropriations of interest to state drinking water programs include:

USDA:  Rural Utilities Service-Rural Water & Waste Disposal Program.  $165,475,000, to remain available until expended, for grants to repair drinking water systems and sewer and solid waste disposal systems impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria:

CORPS OF ENGINEERS:  Civil Works Program.  $15,055,000,000 for necessary expenses to address emergency situations at Corps of Engineers projects, and to construct, and rehabilitate and repair damages caused by natural disasters to Corps of Engineers projects.  Of this amount, not less than $10,425,000,000 shall be available for such projects within States and insular areas that were impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and that all repair, rehabilitation, study, design, and construction of Corps of Engineers projects in Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands, using funds provided under this heading, shall be conducted at full Federal expense.

ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS:  Environmental Protection Agency-DWSRF.  Of amounts previously appropriated for state capitalization grants for the DWSRF included as part of a disaster declaration related to Hurricanes Irma and Maria, all existing grant funds that are available but not drawn down shall not be subject to the matching requirements of section 1452(e) of the SDWA and shall be awarded to such state or territory. Notwithstanding the requirements of SDWA section 1452(f), the state or territory shall use the full amount of such funds, excluding existing loans, to provide additional subsidization to eligible recipients in the form of forgiveness of principal, negative interest loans or grants or any combination of these.

Such funds may be used for eligible projects whose purpose is to repair damage incurred as a result of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, reduce flood damage risk and vulnerability or to enhance resiliency to rapid hydrologic change or a natural disaster at a public drinking water system under SDWA section 1452 and, any project involving the repair or replacement of a lead service line shall replace the entire lead service line, not just a portion.