42 U.S. Code § 300g–9 - Capacity development
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(a) State authority for new systems
A State shall receive only 80 percent of the allotment that the State is otherwise entitled to receive under section 300j–12 of this title (relating to State loan funds) unless the State has obtained the legal authority or other means to ensure that all new community water systems and new nontransient, noncommunity water systems commencing operation after October 1, 1999, demonstrate technical, managerial, and financial capacity with respect to each national primary drinking water regulation in effect, or likely to be in effect, on the date of commencement of operations.
(b) Systems in significant noncompliance
Beginning not later than 1 year after August 6, 1996, each State shall prepare, periodically update, and submit to the Administrator a list of community water systems and nontransient, noncommunity water systems that have a history of significant noncompliance with this subchapter (as defined in guidelines issued prior to August 6, 1996, or any revisions of the guidelines that have been made in consultation with the States) and, to the extent practicable, the reasons for noncompliance.
Not later than 5 years after August 6, 1996, and as part of the capacity development strategy of the State, each State shall report to the Administrator on the success of enforcement mechanisms and initial capacity development efforts in assisting the public water systems listed under paragraph (1) to improve technical, managerial, and financial capacity.
(c) Capacity development strategy
(1) In general
Beginning 4 years after August 6, 1996, a State shall receive only—
of the allotment that the State is otherwise entitled to receive under section 300j–12 of this title (relating to State loan funds), unless the State is developing and implementing a strategy to assist public water systems in acquiring and maintaining technical, managerial, and financial capacity.
In preparing the capacity development strategy, the State shall consider, solicit public comment on, and include as appropriate—
(A) the methods or criteria that the State will use to identify and prioritize the public water systems most in need of improving technical, managerial, and financial capacity;
(B) a description of the institutional, regulatory, financial, tax, or legal factors at the Federal, State, or local level that encourage or impair capacity development;
(C) a description of how the State will use the authorities and resources of this subchapter or other means to—
(ii) encourage the development of partnerships between public water systems to enhance the technical, managerial, and financial capacity of the systems; and
(D) a description of how the State will establish a baseline and measure improvements in capacity with respect to national primary drinking water regulations and State drinking water law; and
(E) an identification of the persons that have an interest in and are involved in the development and implementation of the capacity development strategy (including all appropriate agencies of Federal, State, and local governments, private and nonprofit public water systems, and public water system customers).
Not later than 2 years after the date on which a State first adopts a capacity development strategy under this subsection, and every 3 years thereafter, the head of the State agency that has primary responsibility to carry out this subchapter in the State shall submit to the Governor a report that shall also be available to the public on the efficacy of the strategy and progress made toward improving the technical, managerial, and financial capacity of public water systems in the State.
The decisions of the State under this section regarding any particular public water system are not subject to review by the Administrator and may not serve as the basis for withholding funds under section 300j–12 of this title.
(d) Federal assistance
(1) In general
The Administrator shall support the States in developing capacity development strategies.
(2) Informational assistance
(A) In general
Not later than 180 days after August 6, 1996, the Administrator shall—
(i) conduct a review of State capacity development efforts in existence on August 6, 1996, and publish information to assist States and public water systems in capacity development efforts; and
(3) Promulgation of drinking water regulations
In promulgating a national primary drinking water regulation, the Administrator shall include an analysis of the likely effect of compliance with the regulation on the technical, financial, and managerial capacity of public water systems.
(4) Guidance for new systems
Not later than 2 years after August 6, 1996, the Administrator shall publish guidance developed in consultation with the States describing legal authorities and other means to ensure that all new community water systems and new nontransient, noncommunity water systems demonstrate technical, managerial, and financial capacity with respect to national primary drinking water regulations.
(e) Variances and exemptions
Based on information obtained under subsection (c)(3) of this section, the Administrator shall, as appropriate, modify regulations concerning variances and exemptions for small public water systems to ensure flexibility in the use of the variances and exemptions. Nothing in this subsection shall be interpreted, construed, or applied to affect or alter the requirements of section 300g–4 or 300g–5 of this title.
(f) Small public water systems technology assistance centers
(1) Grant program
The Administrator is authorized to make grants to institutions of higher learning to establish and operate small public water system technology assistance centers in the United States.
(2) Responsibilities of the centers
The responsibilities of the small public water system technology assistance centers established under this subsection shall include the conduct of training and technical assistance relating to the information, performance, and technical needs of small public water systems or public water systems that serve Indian Tribes.
Any institution of higher learning interested in receiving a grant under this subsection shall submit to the Administrator an application in such form and containing such information as the Administrator may require by regulation.
(4) Selection criteria
The Administrator shall select recipients of grants under this subsection on the basis of the following criteria:
(A) The small public water system technology assistance center shall be located in a State that is representative of the needs of the region in which the State is located for addressing the drinking water needs of small and rural communities or Indian Tribes.
(B) The grant recipient shall be located in a region that has experienced problems, or may reasonably be foreseen to experience problems, with small and rural public water systems.
(C) The grant recipient shall have access to expertise in small public water system technology management.
(D) The grant recipient shall have the capability to disseminate the results of small public water system technology and training programs.
(E) The projects that the grant recipient proposes to carry out under the grant are necessary and appropriate.
(5) Consortia of States
At least 2 of the grants under this subsection shall be made to consortia of States with low population densities.
(g) Environmental finance centers
(1) In general
The Administrator shall provide initial funding for one or more university-based environmental finance centers for activities that provide technical assistance to State and local officials in developing the capacity of public water systems. Any such funds shall be used only for activities that are directly related to this subchapter.
(2) National capacity development clearinghouse
The Administrator shall establish a national public water system capacity development clearinghouse to receive and disseminate information with respect to developing, improving, and maintaining financial and managerial capacity at public water systems. The Administrator shall ensure that the clearinghouse does not duplicate other federally supported clearinghouse activities.
(3) Capacity development techniques
The Administrator may request an environmental finance center funded under paragraph (1) to develop and test managerial, financial, and institutional techniques for capacity development. The techniques may include capacity assessment methodologies, manual and computer based public water system rate models and capital planning models, public water system consolidation procedures, and regionalization models.
(4) Authorization of appropriations
There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this subsection $1,500,000 for each of the fiscal years 1997 through 2003.
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