EPA Extends WIFIA Application Deadline to July 31st

On May 15th, as part of Infrastructure Week, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced an extension of the deadline for submitting letters of interest for the second round of funding for Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loans. The new deadline is July 31, 2018. At a meeting with the water associations on May 15th, EPA Administrator Pruitt showed some real interest in using WIFIA funds for lead service line replacement, which is a potential new source of funding for water systems to pay for both public and private side (where possible) lead service replacement. EPA Administrator Pruitt also mentioned his goal of removing all of the lead service lines in a decade which he admits is a stretch goal. The current rumor is that EPA is going to release its Lead Action Plan in late June at the Healthy Homes Conference.

It is interesting how lead service line replacement has become part of meeting the infrastructure needs under WIFIA. It’s interesting that EPA has developed an interactive map of systems’ lead service line replacement programs. Over the past few years, a handful of states have developed either regulatory requirements and/or encouragement for water systems for updated materials inventories and/or lead service line maps. The experiences from both those states and water systems will be informative for the next few years as the water sector works towards “Getting the Lead Out”.