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From Federal Dollars to State Investment: Understanding Technical Assistance for Water Systems

April 17th, 2023 by

At New Jersey Future’s Planning and Redevelopment Conference in June 2022, New Jersey Commissioner of Environmental Protection, Shawn LaTourette, emphasized the historic funding opportunities for NJ flowing from the federal government and implored attendees, “If you don’t have a grant writer on staff, hire one. If you do have one, hire a second.” LaTourette concluded his remarks by stating his desire for New Jersey to seize the opportunity for federal funding, and to position itself well for any additional rounds of funding.  

New Jersey Future at the CIFA Summit on Water Infrastructure. From left to right: NJF Funding Navigator Program Manager Aoi Morel, Environmental Policy Innovation Center Funding Navigator Director Denise Schmidt, US Water Alliance CEO Mami Hara, NJF Policy Director of Water Diane Schrauth, and US Water Alliance Director of Policy and Government Affairs Scott Berry.

New Jersey Future (NJF) is partnering with a national organization, the Environmental Policy Innovation Center, as its on the ground partner in New Jersey for its national Funding Navigator program. The Funding Navigator will provide technical assistance to help water systems and municipalities—particularly those serving overburdened communities—access federal and state funding for water, sewer and stormwater issues. New Jersey’s Funding Navigator will formally launch later this month (April 2023). 

As NJF highlighted in a blog from November, New Jersey has a myriad of water infrastructure needs, including addressing combined sewer overflows, achieving full lead service line replacement by 2031, and increasing stormwater requirements. New Jersey was an industrial powerhouse in the 19th century, which led to rapid development and construction of infrastructure to accommodate a growing population. The many systems that comprise our statewide water infrastructure are, in many cases, over a century old, and in dire need of replacement. With the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) there is roughly four times as much funding available for water infrastructure projects as usual. This funding is sorely needed, with at least a $30 billion price tag for water infrastructure improvements over the next 20 years in New Jersey.

National research shows that smaller communities and communities of color are less likely to access federal and state water infrastructure funding. The Funding Navigator will work with water systems and municipalities servicing those communities to help access that funding by facilitating connections to finance and funding streams, technical assistance, and community engagement. 


If you’re interested in learning more about NJF’s Funding Navigator once it’s launched, please fill out this form for our team to follow up with you. 


As we work to get our New Jersey Funding Navigator off the ground, we want to help folks understand the various technical assistance programs available at the federal, regional, and state levels. NJF will be partnering with many of these entities, which are also in the process of getting their programs up and running. 

National Technical Assistance Providers

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has provided funding to a set of national and regional organizations through its Environmental Finance Centers program to help communities access funds for infrastructure projects. National Technical Assistance Providers and their likely areas of emphasis:  

Communities interested in requesting free EPA water assistance can fill out a simple interest form on their Water Technical Assistance program page. 

Regional Technical Assistance Providers Serving New Jersey

The Syracuse University—Environmental Finance Center works with communities in New Jersey, New York, and Puerto Rico to help access funding and financing for municipal water infrastructure. Partners will include Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Moonshot Missions, New Jersey Future, Quantified Ventures, and RCAP Solutions.

Technical Assistance Programs in New Jersey

  1. The EPA’s Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerator Program will provide targeted technical assistance services to underserved communities to make progress on replacing lead pipes that pose risks to the health of children and families. A consultant will work with these communities directly with support from the EPA. The accelerators will collectively work in 40 communities across the four states—Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—to accelerate lead service line projects by supporting the development of:community engagement plans, lead service line inventories, lead service line replacement plans, State Revolving Fund funding applications. NJF is a partner in this program.
  2. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP)
    • NJDEP offers no-cost assistance using its contracted technical service providers to water systems for various activities such as engineering services, program navigation, and financial and needs assessments. Water systems can apply using this Technical Assistance Request Form.
    • The Technical Assistance Program (NJTAP) will help disadvantaged or overburdened communities to identify lead service lines, develop asset management and capital improvement plans, and identify sources of state and federal funding to assist with important water quality improvement projects. NJTAP will provide support via a consulting firm that will work directly with water systems to address lead in drinking water.
  3. New Jersey Infrastructure Bank (I-Bank) will be providing technical assistance to help communities access the Water Bank. This program will resource a pool of qualified engineers to provide assessments of public water facilities, including fiscal condition and inventory of assets. NJF was selected as part of the I-Bank’s Early Engagement Assistance Services Pool that will work with the engineering consultants.

The success of New Jersey’s Funding Navigator program will require ample relationship building with agencies and municipalities to extend the greatest available resources to New Jersey communities, especially those serving low-income residents. NJF’s Funding Navigator team is ready and able to assist communities large and small with achieving our common goals of improving public health and resilience in the face of climate change by funding improvements to New Jersey’s water infrastructure. Please reach out to Lee Clark  (lclarkatnjfuturedotorg)   with questions or fill out this interest form, and keep an eye out for New Jersey’s Funding Navigator launch later this month!

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