EPA Publishes New Formula for Allocating Municipal Grant Monies for CSO/SSO/Stormwater Management; NACWA Member Feedback Requested

(August 5, 2020) – In a notice published in the Federal Register on August 4, EPA is seeking input on its proposed allotment formula for allocating dollars to states through its Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grants Program. In a significant win for the Association and the public clean water sector, this grant program saw funding authorized through the America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) of 2018, which was signed into law in October 2018, and appropriated for the first time in Fiscal Year 2020.

AWIA called for EPA to allocate funds so that “each State [receives] a proportional share of such amount based on the total needs of the state” for municipal combined sewer overflow controls (CSOs), sanitary sewer overflow controls (SSOs) and stormwater (emphasis added).

In order to determine the proportional needs of each state and distribute funds on a more equitable basis, EPA’s proposed allocation formula has identified additional factors and assigned weights respective to each. The bulk of the allocation weight rests on the Clean Watersheds Needs Survey (50%). A state’s annual average precipitation, total population, and urban population equally share in the remaining 50% and are weighted at 16.67% each. 

NACWA has long supported greater funding to help communities comply with CSO policies and worked with Congress to get the program reauthorized in the 2018 WRDA package. The grant program was originally authorized in the 1990s alongside the Combined Sewer Overflow Policy, yet the funding to help communities comply with CSO obligations was never provided until the current Fiscal Year (2020). NACWA is looking to grow this funding each year and establish a baseline level of funding moving forward. Increased funding levels have been secured in the House’s FY21 EPA Budget and in the House’s recent infrastructure investment proposals.

NACWA is seeking member feedback on EPA’s proposed allocation formula and methodology. Please send any comments or thoughts to Emily Remmel, NACWA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs, by August 21.