New Jersey’s Water Infrastructure Improvement Plan moved forward this week with the Department of Environmental Protection’s release of final Intended Use Plans that include billions of dollars of requests for water-quality improvement and public-health protection projects.
Applicants submitted a record 679 project requests totaling $6.79 billion. These projects would replace dangerous lead service lines, upgrading leaking water delivery systems, modernizing aging wastewater treatment plants to prevent pollution, and more.
NJBIA supports investment in water infrastructure because it creates well-paying jobs while delivering safe, reliable drinking water, reducing flooding, and improving the quality of New Jersey’s waterways.
“Modernizing New Jersey’s water infrastructure is critical to protecting public health, supporting economic development, and preserving and improving our environment,” DEP Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette said Wednesday in a statement announcing the final Intended Use Plans.
“DEP received an overwhelming response during the development of this fiscal year’s Intended Use Plans given our communities’ deep needs for water infrastructure improvements, and we pledge to work closely with applicants to wisely leverage state and federal resources, including the new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding. Together, we can and will deliver safe and reliable drinking water, improve the quality of New Jersey’s waters, and address stormwater, combined sewer overflows and flooding.”
The project priority lists within the IUPs identify projects eligible to receive State Revolving Fund money in rank order. Not all projects on the list will receive funding. Projects must obtain all program approvals and be able to move forward to construction to receive funding.
DEP will be prioritizing projects that improve water quality in overburdened communities, consistent with Gov. Phil Murphy’s Environmental Justice priorities. Applicants included wastewater utilities, municipal utilities authorities, municipal governments, and public and private water systems.
DEP and the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank (I-Bank) work closely on innovative funding to maximize the leveraging of federal and state funds to provide low-interest but high-impact options for local communities and utilities to meet their drinking water, stormwater, and wastewater infrastructure needs.
“This is an exciting opportunity for communities to invest in the health and well-being of their constituents for years to come,” said David Zimmer, executive director of the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank. “With this unprecedented influx of federal funds into the DEP, combined with low interest rates, there has never been a better time for stakeholders to participate in the DEP/I-Bank Financing Program.”
Specifically, the DEP posted the Final Federal Fiscal Year 2022/State Fiscal Year 2023 Intended Use Plans for Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds. These IUPs provide information on how funds, available through the New Jersey Water Bank, will be used to provide financial assistance for clean water and drinking water projects and identify state policies governing loan awards.
The federal government, through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has provided $169 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to the DEP as the first of five allotments through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. For the current round, New Jersey receives:
- $73.3 million for any eligible Clean Water State Revolving Fund project
- $30.6 million for any eligible Drinking Water State Revolving Fund project
- $48.3 million to address drinking water lead service line replacements
- $12.9 million to address contaminants of emerging concern, such as PFAS in drinking water
- $3.8 million to address contaminants of emerging concern in wastewater.
The IUPs are part of the state’s Water Infrastructure Investment Plan efforts, an innovative effort that aims to better understand and resolve water infrastructure challenges plaguing New Jersey communities and utilities through short- and long-term investments. The IUPs provide information on how funds, available through the Water Bank, will be used to provide financial assistance for clean water and drinking water projects and identifies State policies governing loan awards.
In January, DEP kicked off the WIIP development effort with a series of stakeholder sessions that gathered input from interested parties on the broad goals of the WIIP. The sessions helped the DEP develop criteria for prioritizing drinking water and clean water infrastructure projects. For a series of introductory videos and other information, visit www.nj.gov/dep/wiip/
The trillion-dollar Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, known more commonly as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, was signed by President Biden on Nov. 15, 2021. This legislation provides federal funds to rebuild America’s roads, bridges, railroads, and water infrastructure.