On January 20, 2022, WWEMA sent a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Water Assistant Administrator Radhika Fox and Celeste Drake, the Director of the Made in America Office at the Office of Management and Budget regarding the Buy America provisions contained in the recently enacted Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), now known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). The Made in America Office is charged with the oversight and waivers issued under this law.
In the letter WWEMA offered its assistance to work with these agencies as they develop guidance to implement Buy America requirements in the BIL, citing the Association’s prior experience supporting implementation of American Iron and Steel (AIS) provisions. WWEMA stressed how the new Buy America requirements represent an expansion of the finite requirements that the water sector is currently operating under as it complies with AIS rules. More specifically, EPA AIS requirements do not apply to a wide range of critical water sector infrastructure technologies and components including pumps, motors, gear reducers, drives (including variable frequency drives (VFDs)), electric/pneumatic/manual accessories used to operate valves (such as electric valve actuators), mixers, gates, motorized screens (such as traveling screens), blowers and aeration equipment, compressors, meters, sensors, controls and switches, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), membrane bioreactor systems, membrane filtration systems, filters, clarifiers and clarifier mechanisms, rakes, grinders, disinfection systems, presses (including belt presses), conveyors, laboratory equipment, analytical instrumentation, and dewatering equipment. WWEMA also noted that while some of these products are sourced in the U.S., many are not and that has the potential to substantially affect infrastructure project schedules and costs, as well as possibly limit what advanced or innovative technologies are available to be selected by utilities. Additionally, WWEMA asked a number of questions regarding how these requirements will be interpreted. To view this list of questions, consult a copy of the letter, which is available HERE.