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A $1.5 trillion fiscal year 2022 omnibus spending bill approved by the House and Senate last week will deliver a modest 3 percent funding increase to EPA while keeping appropriations for key water infrastructure programs flat – falling short of the ambitious spending increase proposed by President Biden last year. But the bill also marks the return of congressional earmarks, with roughly 30 percent of funding provided for the State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs set aside for specific drinking water and wastewater projects identified by lawmakers.

The FY22 funding package will provide EPA with $9.56 billion, $323 million above the agency’s FY21 level but far short of the record $11.2 billion requested by the White House. The final bill will keep funding levels for most water infrastructure programs relatively consistent with their FY21 amounts, including:

  • $1.126 billion for the Drinking Water SRF, equal to the program’s FY21 amount, and of which just under $398 million will be reserved for earmarks;
  • $1.639 billion for the Clean Water SRF, equal to its FY21 level, with about $444 million set aside for earmarks;
  • $69.5 million for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program, $4 million above its FY21 appropriation, and a sum that Congress anticipates can be leveraged into as much as $12.5 billion in low-cost water infrastructure loans;
  • $22 million for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water grants, about equal to the FY21 amount;
  • $27.5 million for lead testing in schools and childcare centers, $1 million above FY21; and
  • $5 million for the Drinking Water System Infrastructure Resilience and Sustainability program for small and disadvantaged community water systems, $1 million above FY21.

The funding provided in the FY22 appropriations bill will come in addition to billions of dollars for water infrastructure included within the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) enacted last year. That measure provided an additional $1.9 billion in general DWSRF funds this year, plus another $3 billion in DWSRF dollars dedicated to lead service line identification and replacement activities. The BIL also authorized spending on several new water infrastructure programs, such as grants to help large water systems address climate and cyber threats, but funding for those new programs is not expected until FY23 at the earliest.

A full list of the EPA earmarks included in the appropriations legislation is available beginning on page 144 of the electronic pdf of appropriators’ joint explanatory statement covering the Interior and Environment portion of the spending package.