Some Thoughts About EPA’s FY 18 Budget

It’s been four weeks since the FY 18 Omnibus was passed and signed into law, and staff and management at EPA are still waiting for the Agency’s FY 18 operational plan. In other words, the various offices, such as the Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water, and the various divisions, such as the Standards and Risk Management Division, don’t have their respective final budgets through September 30th. It’s not completely clear when the allocations will be set for both the PWSS and the DWSRF (noting that we do know that the DWSRF allocations will be based on the latest Drinking Water Needs Survey that was released on March 30th).

What we can surmise from the numbers is that funding in some programs at EPA are going to be squeezed. The overall EPA funding for FY is $8.058 billion, which is 1% below the FY 17 funding of $8.140 billion. The good news is that the PWSS funding stayed the same at $101,963,000, and an additional $300 million was appropriated for both the DWSRF and CWSRF ($600 million total). An additional $50 million was appropriated for three new grant programs ($20 million for small & disadvantaged communities, $20 million for lead testing in school and child care centers and $10 million for reducing lead in drinking water), as well as an additional $56 million for WIFIA.

The funding challenge is that this additional $706 million must be taken out of an already reduced EPA budget of $8.058 billion. Picture a pie where one slice gets bigger and what’s left is smaller. Cuts will have to be made (not sure where or by how much) and some programs will be zeroed out. And some of these programs might be important to ASDWA’s members. ASDWA will continue to monitor this evolution of funding and will keep its members apprised.