Lab Matters Fall 2023 | Page 24


A $ 50 Billion Reason to Examine US EPA ’ s State Revolving Funds as a Laboratory Resource

By Erin Morin , MHS , specialist , Environmental Health
Maryland ’ s public health laboratory was approved $ 1.2 million to purchase a high-sensitivity mass spectrometer to quantify PFAS at parts-per-quadrillion levels , and a highresolution mass spectrometer for unknown contaminant identification . As a Safe Drinking Water Act principal state laboratory , they also have secured a Memorandum of Understanding with their state program that will provide $ 300,000 per year from the DWSRF for safe drinking water compliance testing . From left to right : Zhao Cao , who developed most of Maryland ’ s PFAS and non-targeted methods , and Dr . Sinisa Urban , chief of environmental sciences , who directs the projects and obtained the funding . Photo : Blair Knouse
Signed in November 2021 , the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides a $ 50 billion public health investment over the course of four years to strengthen the nation ’ s water systems . Much of this funding will be available to states through the US Environmental Protection Agency ’ s ( US EPA ’ s ) state revolving fund ( SRF ) programs . Depending upon your state ’ s eligibility , SRF programs may be an untapped funding resource for your laboratory for a variety of uses to support water quality testing .
US EPA ’ s Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds
US EPA ’ s SRFs two sister funds , the Clean Water State Revolving Fund ( CWSRF ) and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund ( DWSRF ) have operated since 1987 and 1996 , respectively . SRFs are considered partnerships between US EPA and all 50 states and Puerto Rico , operating like banks by providing subsidized loans for water quality and public health projects from congressionally appropriated funds .
CWSRF eligibility is based on project type and primarily funds wastewater infrastructure and water quality projects whereas DWSRF eligibility is limited to public- or privately owned community water systems or non-profit non-community water systems ( e . g ., schools ). Set-aside funds from this loan may be used to support laboratories .
Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has considerably increased CWSRF and DWSRF dollar amounts , creating new general supplement and emerging contaminants funds for each SRF . The emerging contaminant funds , in particular , represent an unprecedented opportunity for laboratories to apply for instrumentation funding that will help them address contaminants that pose a new or re-emerging risk to public health and are known or expected in the environment . CWSRF and DWSRF emerging contaminants projects can focus on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances ( PFAS ), or contaminants that do not have Clean Water Act water quality criteria or are listed on US EPA ’ s Contaminant Candidate List ( CCL ), respectively .
Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities Grant
Separate from SRFs , an additional $ 5 billion of Infrastructure Law funding will be awarded through the Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities grant . States are to use this funding to make grants to eligible emerging contaminant projects and / or activities in small or disadvantaged communities . Laboratories should collaborate with their environmental health partners to provide the needed data for these emerging contaminants projects . Eligible projects are outlined on the webpage and must also focus on PFAS or other contaminants listed on the CCL . The webpage and implementation guide , specifically Appendix D , are good resources when writing the proposal . g
22 LAB MATTERS Fall 2023
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