EPA Proposes 2020 Financial Capability Assessment for Water Services in Disadvantaged Communities

On Tuesday (9/15), EPA announced its proposed 2020 Financial Capability Assessment (FCA) for the Clean Water Act (CWA), which will help communities plan for water infrastructure improvements. Through the 2020 FCA, EPA is seeking to support water utilities that serve economically disadvantaged communities and provide vital clean water services that support public health, the environment and local economies. The 2020 FCA proposal explores how customers’ ability to pay for service impacts planning for capital expenditures and operation and maintenance needed to support Clean Water Act compliance. This guidance is used to evaluate the financial capability of a community when developing a schedule (i.e., plan) for water infrastructure improvements. EPA’s proposed FCA 2020 guidance includes new metrics to inform a community’s implementation schedule, including indicators that more accurately reflect how much low-income communities can afford to pay for water infrastructure upgrades. When finalized, the 2020 FCA will support negotiations of schedules for implementing CWA requirements for municipalities and local authorities.

While the FCA proposal is for the CWA, many municipalities provide both drinking water and wastewater services to their customers.  Additionally, the charges for wastewater services is typically part of the water bill, as most systems base the wastewater charges on the water used indoors during the winter, since outdoor use is minimal in the winter.