Drinking Water American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)

Drinking Water Financial Assistance - American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)

The Virginia General Assembly allocated the Office of Drinking Water (ODW) $100 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to improve drinking water infrastructure over the next four years. ODW is leading the Drinking Water Infrastructure Initiative to manage the use of these funds.

The Drinking Water Infrastructure Initiative aims to:

  • Improve drinking water infrastructure across the state
  • Assist small and disadvantaged communities
  • Conduct research on consumer confidence reports and having tap water as a trusted drink of choice instead of sugary beverages

For more information on the Drinking Water initiative see the sections below.

Purpose

The purpose of this webpage is to:

  • Show how the funds are being used
  • Give grant awardees a place to go to get information about the initiative
  • Inform individuals who want to learn more about the initiative
  • Give instructions for how to apply for funds

VDH is no longer accepting applications.  Download the ARPA application here.

Please send comments, questions, or concerns on projects awarded to date to vdh_drinkingwater@vdh.virginia.gov.

ARPA funding is ONLY available to “Small/Disadvantaged” water works.  Remember, VDH used the project area that will benefit from the project when determining whether a project qualifies for ARPA funding.

Below are links that can provide additional information:

Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds | U.S. Department of the Treasury

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0550

https://www.nlc.org/covid-19-pandemic-response/american-rescue-plan-act/

This solicitation ran concurrently with the annual Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) solicitation.  Find information about BIL and DWSRF funding and applications at https://www.townhall.virginia.gov/L/ViewNotice.cfm?gnid=2367.

Map of Projects Awarded

The General Assembly requires Drinking Water Infrastructure Initiative funds to: “support equal access to drinking water at small and disadvantaged community waterworks and funds shall not be used for improvements to the department’s internal systems, staffing, or processes.” ODW used the measures below to select an initial set of projects to receive $62,352,700 of the available funds as of December 20,2021:

  • Small Communities – These communities have a population of less than 10,000 persons. Small communities are historically underserved, marginalized, or include adversely impacted groups.
  • Disadvantaged Communities – In these communities the annual water bill exceeds 1% of the median household income (MHI).
  • Project Ready – Projects for small and disadvantaged community waterworks that had already been identified and were ready to start

The following table lists the number of projects and funding cap for awards made as of 5/31/2022.

The U.S. Department of Treasury requires projects that promote equitable outcomes and racial equity. The foundation of ODW’s plan, and the processes to spend or obligate the $100 million in ARPA funding, is outlined in the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) Program Manual.  ODW used the DWSRF manual and the Department of Treasury’s requirements to identify and prioritize infrastructure projects as follows:

  • Small – communities with a service population less than 10,000 persons. Small communities do not usually have the economy of scale to ensure financial sustainability.  Small communities are historically underserved, marginalized, or include adversely affected groups.
  • Disadvantaged – communities in which the annual water bill exceeds 1% of the median household income on an annual basis.
  • Abandoned – waterworks owners who have effectively stopped providing technical, managerial, and financial support for the waterworks. In these cases, ODW will look to consolidate these systems with larger nearby waterworks.
  • Acute or Chronic Health Violations – these systems will have notices of violation issued or be under an Order to resolve health violations.

Projects will focus on closing funding gaps and reaching universal levels of service.  While ODW is using the DWSRF program manual as a baseline for process and procedures, ODW will waive certain unnecessary “paperwork” requirements associated with ARPA funding where appropriate.  ARPA funding has fewer restrictions as compared to DWSRF funding.

Department of Treasury Guidelines

The ARPA final rules can be found at the following Dept. of Treasury link:
https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRF-Final-Rule-Overview.pdf

Frequently Asked Questions