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Environmental Loans (EL) Use of American Iron and Steel (AIS)

Congress first included a provision for the Use of American Iron and Steel (UAIS) for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) in the Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act.

On June 10, 2014, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) made the UAIS requirement permanent for the CWSRF. On December 16, 2016, the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act was passed and included language on UAIS for the DWSRF which applies for the duration of FFY 2017.

Projects affected by the UAIS requirement

Starting October 1, 2014, the UAIS requirement applies to all Clean Water Fund Program (CWFP) projects unless the plans and specifications were approved prior to June 10, 2014, the date of WRRDA enactment. WRRDA exempts projects where the plans and specifications were approved prior to the passage of the Act.

Starting December 16, 2014, the UAIS requirement applies to all Safe Drinking Water Loan Program (SDWLP) projects unless the plans and specifications were approved prior to December 16, 2014. WIIN did reset the date to December 16, 2016, BUT we are under a CR (continuing resolution) which continues the Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2016 requirements (including the 12/16/14 date).

For more information and guidance on this federal requirement, see EPA's State Revolving Fund (SRF) American Iron and Steel (AIS) Requirement [exit DNR].

UAIS implementation requirements webinar

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Iron and steel products

The term "iron and steel products" means the following products made primarily of iron or steel:

  • lined or unlined pipes and fittings
  • manhole covers and other municipal castings
  • hydrants
  • tanks
  • flanges
  • pipe clamps and restraints
  • valves
  • structural steel
  • reinforced precast concrete
  • construction materials

Documenting compliance

To document compliance with UAIS requirements, specific language should be included in each contract, starting with purchase agreements for the iron and steel components and continuing all the way up through the financial assistance agreement. It is important that UAIS language be included in any request for proposals or solicitations for bids.

A step certification process similar to what is used by the Federal Highway Administration is recommended. Step certification ensures that producers adhere to UAIS requirements and allows assistance recipients to verify that compliance. Under a step certification process, each handler of the iron and steel (supplier, fabricator, manufacturer, processer, etc.) certifies that their step in the process was performed in the United States. These certifications should be collected and maintained by the assistance recipient. Items which should be included in each certification include:

  • the name of the manufacturer;
  • the location of the manufacturing facility (not its headquarters);
  • a description of the product; and
  • a signature from a responsible party representing the manufacturer.

Specific UAIS language should also be included in construction contracts. Assistance recipients will be required to certify that the successful bidders have certified their understanding of and compliance with the UAIS requirements. Assistance recipients will also complete an additional certification of compliance with the UAIS requirements at project closeout after construction is completed.

Sample construction contract language and sample certifications can be found in the appendices of EPA's AIS Guidance and Questions & Answers [PDF exit DNR].

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Certification form

The certification form for UAIS is a mandatory form for all projects and should be completed after a project has been bid. The form must be completed even if it is determined that your project is exempt from the UAIS requirements.

Waivers

The legislation permits EPA to issue waivers for a case or category of cases where EPA finds:

  1. that applying these requirements would be inconsistent with the public interest;
  2. iron and steel products are not produced in the U.S. in sufficient and reasonably available quantities and of a satisfactory quality; or
  3. inclusion of iron and steel products produced in the U.S. will increase the cost of the overall project by more than 25%.

Approved waivers; waiver requests received by EPA; draft waivers; and denied waivers can be found on EPA's page, SRF AIS Requirement [exit DNR].

Page 12 of EPA's AIS Guidance and Questions & Answers [PDF exit DNR] goes into detail about the EPA's waiver process.

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Requesting waivers

If you have a project which you believe would qualify for a waiver, you must submit your waiver request through the State SRF program (WDNR Environmental Loans Section) where it will be reviewed for completeness before being forwarded on to EPA. A checklist of required documentation applicable to each type of waiver request is included as Appendix 1 of the EPA guidance document which can be found at the link given above.

Once you have compiled the appropriate documentation for your request you should e-mail it to Becky Scott at rebecca.scott@wisconsin.gov. Please be sure to include contact information in case we have any questions. The request will be reviewed for completeness and then forwarded on to EPA. EPA Headquarters will publish the request on their website for 15 days to give the public the opportunity to review the request and provide informal comments. If the waiver request is approved, EPA will notify the State SRF program and post the approved waiver on EPA's page, SRF AIS Requirement [exit DNR].

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Nationwide De Minimis Waiver

On April 15, 2014 EPA issued a nationwide public interest waiver for de minimis incidental components. This waiver permits the use of noncompliant incidental components for projects subject to the UAIS requirements as long as the de minimis components cumulatively compromise no more than a total of 5% of the total cost of materials used in and incorporated into the project and no individual item exceeds 1%.

Examples of incidental components include: small washers, screws, fasteners (i.e., nuts and bolts), miscellaneous wire, corner bead, ancillary tube, etc. Examples of items which are not incidental include: significant process fittings (i.e., tees, elbows, flanges, and brackets), distribution system fittings and valves, force main valves, pipes for sewer collection and/or water distribution, treatment and storage tanks, large structural supports, etc.

Recipients who wish to utilize the de minimis waiver must retain relevant documentation (i.e., invoices) in their project files for all materials used in and incorporated into the project. Documentation demonstrating compliance with the 5% and 1% thresholds must be submitted as part of the project closeout process once construction is completed. This documentation must show the total cost of all materials used in and incorporated into the project as well as demonstrate that the total of the de minimis components does not exceed 5% of the total materials cost and that no individual item exceeds 1%.

An optional spreadsheet is available for use in documenting de minimis costs, De Minimis Tracking Worksheet [Excel].

Contact information
Direct questions about UAIS requirements or waiver process to:
Becky Scott
Use of American Iron and Steel specialist
608-267-7584

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Last revised: Thursday June 29 2017