Does the American Jobs Plan Affect the Water Industry?

March 31, 2021

The plan targets the need for upgrading and modernizing America’s storm water systems, drinking water, wastewater, clean water infrastructure and more. 

President Joe Biden is set to unveil a more than $2 trillion infrastructure package March 31, which includes $111 billion for drinking water infrastructure improvements. The primary goal is to replace 100% of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines. 

The proposal, called the American Jobs Plan, is part of his administration’s shift of its focus to a post-pandemic economy. For the water industry in particular, the plan targets the need for upgrading and modernizing America’s drinking water, wastewater, and storm water systems as well as tackling new contaminants and supporting clean water infrastructure across rural America. 

Overall, the American Jobs Plan will invest about $2 trillion over the next 10 years, and if passed alongside President Biden’s Made in America corporate tax plan, will be fully paid for within the next 15 years, according to a White House Fact Sheet for The American Jobs Plan. One of the largest investments includes more than $200 billion to improve and build affordable housing and more than $500 billion to invest in jobs and innovations, reported The New York Times. Other notable aspects in the plan include modernizing and repairing the country’s transportation infrastructure.

The American Jobs Plan, which aims to create millions of jobs and rebuild the country’s infrastructure, intends to deliver clean drinking water to all Americans by eliminating all lead pipes and service lines in America’s drinking water systems. This will improve the health of all but specifically children and communities of color who are disproportionately impacted by insufficient water systems. 

A breakdown of funding measures included in the $111 billion investment for drinking water includes::

  • Eliminating all lead pipes and service lines in the country by calling on Congress to invest $45 billion in the EPA’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and in Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN) grants.
  • Providing $56 billion in grants and low-cost flexible loans to states, Tribes, territories and disadvantaged communities across the country to modernize aging water systems
  • Providing $10 billion in funding to monitor and remediate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water and to invest in rural small water systems and household well and wastewater systems

Other key water provisions include:

  • Protecting and restoring nature-based infrastructure, such as lands, forests, wetlands, watersheds, and coastal and ocean resources
  • Making the country’s infrastructure more resilient in the face of increasingly severe floods, hurricanes, and other natural disasters.
  • Safeguard critical infrastructure and services, and defend vulnerable communities, since people of color and low-income people are more likely to live in areas most vulnerable to flooding
  • Maximize the resilience of land and water resources to protect communities and the environment
  • Funding the western drought crisis by investing in water efficiency and recycling programs, Tribal Water Settlements, and dam safety

Read the complete White House Fact Sheet of the American Jobs Plan for more detailed information on transportation, broadband and energy infrastructure improvements mentioned in the bill.

About the Author

Cristina Tuser