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Indian Health Service Announces Allocation Decisions for $702.6 Million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funding

In a significant stride towards ensuring essential sanitation facilities throughout Indian Country, the Indian Health Service is announcing the fiscal year 2023 allocation decisions for $702.6 million in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Building upon the momentum set by the BIL, which allocates $3.5 billion to the IHS between FY 2022 and 2026 Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving , this funding empowers efforts to develop critical infrastructure, including robust drinking water sources, reliable sewage systems, and effective solid waste disposal facilities.

“The projects funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law are critical towards making substantial improvements in clean water and sanitation systems in our tribal communities,” said IHS Director Roselyn Tso. “The IHS will continue to leverage the use of multiple strategies and available authorities to ensure timely and efficient distribution of this historic funding.”

Approximately $613 million in FY 2023 BIL funding will be allocated for Tier 1 project construction costs, which are considered ready to fund because planning is complete. However, design and construction contract document creation activities are not yet complete for current Tier 1 projects. These steps must be finalized before a construction contract can be initiated through federal or tribal procurement methods. When combined with FY 2023 annual appropriations, the IHS will fully fund construction costs for 197 Tier 1 projects.

The IHS will use FY 2023 enacted appropriations to support additional planning, design, and construction document creation activities for Tier 2 projects. The Sanitation Deficiency System, which tracks projects to address sanitation needs in American Indian and Alaska Native communities, currently includes 589 Tier 2 projects, totaling approximately $2.5 billion. Tier 2 projects are projects that have a level of engineering assessment completed, such that the deficiency is understood and a recommended solution has been analyzed and scoped.

The IHS also allocates approximately $66 million from the FY 2023 BIL funding to address potential project shortfalls and to bolster planning, design, and construction document creation. This allocation serves to support previously funded Sanitation Facilities Construction projects that exceeded the original project budget due to inflation-driven construction costs and supply chain constraints. Additionally, $21 million is allocated for salaries, expenses, and administration, while about $4 million is designated in statute for funding oversight by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.

These allocations align with recommendations from tribal leaders, prioritizing projects that have progressed through planning phases and can seamlessly transition into the design and construction stages. The commitment to securing adequate funding for planning and design activities remains paramount.

The outcome of this funding is substantial – more than 36,000 American Indian and Alaska Native households will benefit by gaining access to essential services. Notably, improved sanitation facilities can reduce inpatient and outpatient visits related to respiratory, skin and soft tissue, and gastroenteric disease. The IHS estimates each dollar invested in water and sewer infrastructure could yield savings of $1.18 in avoided direct health care costs for these diseases.

The IHS launched an interactive website in April to furnish insights into projects funded through the BIL. This dynamic platform will consistently offer updated information, encompassing project funding amounts, tribes served, homes impacted, and project statuses. Projects funded through FY 2023 BIL and the FY 2023 enacted appropriation will also be included after the funds are transferred to the IHS Areas.

The nationwide Sanitation Facilities Construction Program is responsible for the delivery of environmental engineering services and sanitation facilities to American Indians and Alaska Natives, providing homes and communities with essential water supply, sewage disposal, and solid waste disposal facilities. The program provides technical and financial assistance to American Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages for cooperative development and construction of safe water, wastewater, and solid waste systems and related support facilities.

The IHS, an agency in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving , provides a comprehensive health service delivery system for approximately 2.8 million American Indians and Alaska Natives who belong to 574 federally recognized tribes Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving  in 37 states. Follow the agency via social media on Facebook Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving , Twitter Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving , and LinkedIn Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving .