EPA-USDA Partnership Launched to Help Rural Communities with Wastewater

The EPA and USDA recently announced the Closing America’s Wastewater Access Gap Community Initiative. It will be piloted in 11 communities across the country where residents lack basic wastewater management. The initiative will allow EPA and USDA—in close collaboration with these communities, state and Tribal partners, and on-the-ground technical assistance providers—to leverage technical and financial expertise to make progress on addressing the wastewater infrastructure needs of some of America’s most underserved. Each community will receive direct support to develop wastewater assessments with technical engineering support, design wastewater community solution plans, identify and pursue funding opportunities, and build long term capacity. States, Tribes, and water agencies have committed to working with the EPA and USDA to support these communities.

The initiative will be a roadmap to scale up efforts in the rest of the country and fully harness funds authorized in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). EPA and USDA each offer technical assistance that can help communities access funding through IIJA and other government programs. If you are a community interested in learning more about Technical Assistance opportunities, click here.

Several of the communities selected are also participating in the recently announced Rural Partners Network. The USDA-led network brings together twenty federal agencies and regional commissions to help rural communities create economic opportunity by accessing resources and funding that match their unique needs and priorities.