EPA Proposes Guidance to Support Water Affordability and Clean Water Act Implementation

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued its Proposed 2022 Clean Water Act Financial Capability Assessment (FCA) Guidance for public comment. The proposed guidance outlines strategies for communities to support affordable utility rates while planning investments in water infrastructure that are essential for CWA implementation.

“EPA is committed to ensuring that all Americans have access to essential water services and clean water. This guidance provides needed tools that can help achieve that goal for rural, suburban and urban communities across the country,” says EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “The guidance supports water affordability while ensuring that wastewater utilities can take vital steps to improve wastewater management.”

The FCA Guidance is used by municipalities when devising plans to dramatically reduce discharges from combined sewer systems. During that process, municipalities and EPA negotiate schedules with specific timeframes for implementation. The Proposed 2022 FCA Guidance describes the financial information and formulas the agency intends to use to assess the financial resources a community has available to implement control measures and timeframes associated with implementation.

“NACWA and its public utility members appreciate EPA’s work to revise the Financial Capability Assessment guidance and is pleased the agency has retained some of the recommendations previously provided by NACWA and its water sector partners,” says National Association of Clean Water Agencies CEO Adam Krantz. “We look forward to reviewing this FCA document in more detail and to providing comments for additional improvements, but I have been impressed throughout this process with the agency’s commitment to address the affordability and financial capability challenges of the nation’s low-income ratepayers and financially distressed communities.”

Once finalized, EPA intends for the Proposed 2022 FCA to replace the 1997 FCA Guidance to evaluate a community’s capability to fund CWA control measures in both the permitting and enforcement context. The 2022 FCA will also supplement the public sector sections of the 1995 Water Quality Standards Guidance to assist states and authorized tribes in assessing the degree of economic and social impact of potential water quality decisions. The guidance document is not legally binding and is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies. EPA is accepting public comment until 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

For more information about the Proposed 2022 FCA, visit epa.gov.


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