The nation has made significant progress in addressing environmental and public health needs over the past fifty years, but more remains to be done. At the same time, the cost of facilities, programs, services, and activities needed to meet environmental challenges continues to grow. Many communities with significant drinking water system technical, managerial, and financial capacity needs have not been able to access federal funding and financing programs to address these concerns. EPA recognizes that existing environmental gains cannot be preserved, nor further progress achieved, unless tribes, state and local governments, utilities, and non-governmental organizations have the resources to develop and sustain water infrastructure and to pay for the growing costs of protecting the environment and public health.
As EPA looks to support continued environmental progress, we are mindful that many communities have never been able to access safe and reliable infrastructure, and many communities are already dealing with the impacts of climate change. Climate change acts as a threat multiplier, exacerbating existing stressors that impact public health, degrade the quality of our waterways, and destabilize the critical water infrastructure we rely upon. Disadvantaged communities are particularly vulnerable to these impacts. Vulnerable populations include low-income communities and communities of color, children, elderly, Indigenous people, and tribes.
EPA provides technical assistance (TA) to help communities identify water infrastructure needs, plan for capital improvements, maintain regulatory compliance, improve resiliency, build capacity, and apply for the range of eligible projects under various grant programs. Through this grant program, EPA seeks to support communities at the drinking water system level, including operational, environmental and financial resource challenges they face. With the funds included in this opportunity, EPA will carry out its mission of protecting human health and the environment by ensuring that the vital services are provided and reach the drinking water systems in communities who need them most. EPA is committed to providing technical assistance to meet the needs of utilities and communities, as a compliment to those efforts of states and other federal agencies.
Accordingly, with this RFA, EPA is seeking applications from organizations with a demonstrable history of providing effective, results-oriented technical assistance to public water systems. The Agency’s priorities include maximizing funds to provide significant benefit to drinking water systems in communities of need; tackling the climate crisis; and advancing environmental justice and equity. EPA believes this funding plays a significant role to ensure continued access to resources to support infrastructure improvements that protect public health, safeguard the environment, and mitigate environmental justice concerns at the public water system.
Deadline: Jan. 26, 2023