Grants for Infrastructure

Government Relations Committee building traction in Washington, D.C.

NASSCO’s mission to set standards for the assessment, maintenance and rehabilitation of underground infrastructure is a noble and long-standing goal. This all hinges, however, on sufficient government funding to do inspections, maintain our systems and repair aging infrastructure.

As a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit organization, one of NASSCO’s primary responsibilities is to advocate for our industry by building awareness of the need to rehabilitate water and wastewater pipes and to make the condition of underground systems top of mind when infrastructure budgets are being created.

In 2018, NASSCO advocated before Congress for the establishment of a grant program to provide funding assistance to communities for combined sewer overflows, sanitary sewer overflows, and stormwater collections and conveyance infrastructure improvements. NASSCO, along with like-minded organizations such as Water Environment Federation and others, was successful in this endeavor: America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-270) was signed into law on Oct. 23, 2018, and section 4106 established this new grant program. 

The work, however, has just begun. When infrastructure budgets are considered, water, sewer and stormwater systems are sometimes out of sight, out of mind. Attention often goes to the repair of roads, bridges and airports — all of which can be seen. This makes the work NASSCO does even more critical. Consider, for example:

  • A vast majority of the nation’s sewer pipes were installed in the years just following World War II, meaning they are at or beyond their design life (a typical design life is 50 years).
  • Increased volume and changes in population are placing a greater demand on these systems, which have not proportionally benefited from the increased federal and state funding available for treatment works following passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that at least 23,000 and up to 75,000 SSO events occur in the U.S. each year.

Congress will be providing funding for America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 in the 2020 fiscal year budget, and the EPA will likely begin offering grants to communities in late winter or spring of 2020. The momentum is building, so make sure your voice is heard.

NASSCO has made it easy by creating a grassroots program, NASSCO’s Sewer System Heroes. Available at, NASSCO members and nonmembers alike can make a difference by simply clicking “Take Action” and sending a prewritten communication to your local officials.

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