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Survey will document municipal wastewater system needs and plans

Jan. 24, 2022

EGLE to administer EPA's nationwide Clean Watersheds Needs Survey in Michigan

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) soon will reach out to municipal officials for information as part of a nationwide survey to guide investments in clean water infrastructure.

The Clean Watersheds Needs Survey (CWNS) by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) helps determine resources needed to improve wastewater, stormwater, decentralized, and nonpoint source systems. Data collection begins March 1 and will conclude February 28, 2023.

In Michigan, EGLE will survey municipalities about wastewater system needs and plans and submit the results to EPA. Representatives from EGLE will reach out to communities by email or phone for capital improvement plans covering the next five to 20 years, with a goal to document as many capital needs as possible for the state.

This will be the first CWNS since 2012. Congress and the state Legislature will use survey data in budgeting, and the public can use data for research and advocacy. The data also will determine the allocation of funds to states for the Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grants Program.

The EPA conducts the survey to assess capital costs (or "needs") to meet water quality goals of the Clean Water Act and address water quality-related environmental and public health concerns. These capital investment needs are reported periodically to Congress for all 50 states and territories in a formal report.

The recently passed bipartisan infrastructure law updated the language authorizing the CWNS to collect data and report needs to Congress for all projects eligible for Clean Water State Revolving Fund financing, including nonpoint source and decentralized projects. So, unlike prior surveys, decentralized and nonpoint source needs will be included in the body of the report to Congress.

Expect to hear more from EGLE as the survey begins in the coming months. For additional information, please visit

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