TDEC opens applications for ARP funds
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) announced the application process is open for non-competitive grants from the federal American Rescue Plan (ARP), which TDEC is partially administering for the state.
The funds are targeted for improving water infrastructure in communities throughout Tennessee.
The American Rescue Plan of 2021 was designed to help Americans recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Tennessee received $3.725 billion from the ARP, and the state’s Financial Stimulus Accountability Group dedicated $1.35 billion of those funds to water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure projects.
Of the $1.35 billion, approximately $1 billion was designated for the non-competitive formula-based grants, and the application process for those grants begins now. The remaining $269 million of the total will go to state-initiated projects and toward competitive grants.
“We have an opportunity to greatly enhance our water infrastructure in communities across our state,” TDEC Commissioner David Salyers said. “These funds can go a long way, although our need for water infrastructure improvements still greatly exceeds what is covered in this plan. We look forward to what these funds will bring to deserving communities.”
Reports from the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the TN H2O plan led by TDEC say the necessary investment in Tennessee water infrastructure ranges from $5 billion to $15 billion between now and 2040.
TDEC conducted a virtual town hall, webinars and grant workshops leading up to the applications period for the non-competitive grants. TDEC is focusing the grants on the following goals:
- Protect and promote human health and safety and improve the quality of water by supporting water systems in non-compliance to work toward compliance with water quality requirements
- Improve the technical, managerial, and financial capabilities of small, disadvantaged, or underserved water infrastructure systems
- Address critical water infrastructure needs across the state
TDEC will review, evaluate and recommend grant awards within 30 days of receiving a complete grant proposal and application. TDEC will announce grant awards and execute contracts within 60 days of the recommendations. Grant applicants should anticipate project management discussions with TDEC during the process.
Funds from the ARP must be obligated by Dec. 31, 2024 and expended by Dec. 31, 2026.
TDEC’s non-competitive grant manual can be found at this link.
Those interested in submitting formal applications should visit the TDEC Online Grants Management System. Users will need to register and login, then search for “DWR-ARP Collaborative Grants State Water Infrastructure Grants (SWIG) Program.”
TDEC’s strategy for deployment of ARP funds is described in the Water Infrastructure Investment Plan. This plan was developed by TDEC based on input from leaders and experts from agencies internal and external to state government. The plan can be found at this link.