On March 20, 2014, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a guidance document to assist drinking water and wastewater utilities implement the “Buy American” provisions of the fiscal year 2014 appropriations bill for the Clean Water (CWSRF) and Drinking Water (DWSRF) State Revolving Funds.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-76) includes an “American Iron and Steel (AIS)” requirement that requires CWSRF and DWSRF assistance recipients to use iron and steel products that are produced in the U.S. for projects for the construction, alteration, maintenance, or repair of a public water system or treatment works if the project is funded through an assistance agreement executed beginning January 17, 2014, (enactment of the Act), through the end of fiscal year 2014. The appropriation language sets forth certain circumstances under which EPA may waive American Iron and Steel requirements. Furthermore, the act exempts projects where engineering specifications and plans were approved by a state agency prior to January 17, 2014.
For further information on specific act requirements please consult the EPA guidance: American Iron and Steel (AIS) Requirement Guidance. The EPA’s guidance on AIS requirements includes specific instructions for communities interested in applying for a waiver.
A waiver may be provide if EPA determines that (1) applying these requirements would be inconsistent with the public interest; (2) iron and steel products are not produced in the United States in sufficient and reasonably available quantities and of a satisfactory quality; or (3) inclusion of iron and steel products produced in the United States will increase the cost of the overall project by more than 25 percent. EPA has released “Nationwide waiver”, and “De Minimis waiver” guidance documents.