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For CWFP & SDWLP information, contact:
Environmental Loans staff

American iron and steel

Program implementation details are outlined in the governing administrative codes and statutes: §§ 281.58 and 281.59 and 281.61, Wis. Stat., and chs. NR 162 and 166, Wis. Adm. Code.

Congress first included a provision for the American Iron and Steel (AIS) requirement 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 AIS requirement permanent for the CWSRF. On October 23, 2018, America's Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) was passed and included language on AIS for the DWSRF which applies through the end of FFY 2023.

Note: The Wisconsin DNR Environmental Loans Program called it Use of American Iron and Steel (UAIS) to limit confusion with the department's acronym for Aquatic Invasive Species.

Projects affected by the AIS requirement

Starting October 1, 2014, the AIS 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 AIS requirement applies to all Safe Drinking Water Loan Program (SDWLP) projects unless the plans and specifications were approved prior to December 16, 2014.

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

AIS Compliance Cheat Sheet

This two-page PDF is essentially a cheat sheet of key AIS concepts and points.

AIS for Clean Water & Drinking Water State Revolving Funds webinar

AIS 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:

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

Documenting compliance

To document compliance with AIS 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 (FAA). It is important that AIS language be included in any request for proposals or solicitations for bids.

Certification letters for the American Iron and Steel requirement should be:

  • obtained from the product vendor/handler of the iron and steel; and
  • submitted for inclusion in the project documentation for the CWFP and SDWLP.

Letters of certification for AIS compliance

To document the use of AIS, engineers/contractors/funding recipients should follow the information provided in the sample certification letters found in Appendix 5 of the U.S. EPA memo dated 3/20/2014.

A step certification process similar to what is used by the Federal Highway Administration is recommended. Step certification ensures that producers adhere to AIS 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.

Each certification should include the following:

  • project name, project number (####-##), or both;
  • certification statement;
  • the name of the manufacturer;
  • the location of the manufacturing facility (not its headquarters);
  • a description of the item, products, and/or materials; and
  • a signature from a responsible party representing the manufacturer.

Mill certifications may also be acceptable as AIS certification if all the information shown in the sample certification letters is provided.

Contract specifications and engineer's product submittal/review/approval process

For the items, products, and/or materials requiring compliance with AIS, the Environmental Loans section recommends that contract specifications ("Product Submittal Requirements" or other similarly-named specification section) be written to notify the contractor of the requirement for AIS certification letter documentation. This could be managed by incorporating the certification letter requirement as a part of the engineer's shop drawing/product review/comment/approval process.

As an example, a shop drawing review or product submittal comment by the engineer may include, "Provide AIS certification for this item."

Include specific AIS language in…

To document the use of AIS, engineers/contractors/funding recipients should follow the information provided in the sample construction contract language found in Appendix 4 of the U.S. EPA memo dated 3/20/2014.

Engineers/contractors/funding recipients should include specific AIS language and requirements for each handler of the iron and steel (bidders, suppliers, product vendors, fabricators, manufacturers, processers, producers, etc.) in such as the following:

  • advertisements;
  • contracts and subcontracts;
  • engineer's product approval process;
  • prequalification requirements;
  • purchase agreements for iron and steel components;
  • request for proposals;
  • solicitations for bids; and
  • specifications ("Product Submittal Requirements" or other similarly-named specification section).

Specific AIS language should 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 AIS requirements. Assistance recipients will also complete an additional certification of compliance with the AIS 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.

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Certification form

The certification form for AIS 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 AIS requirements.


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.

Page 12 of EPA's AIS Guidance and Questions & Answers 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 (Wisconsin DNR 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 email it to Frank Fuja at 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.

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Final Extension of Short-Term National Product Waiver for Stainless Steel Nuts & Bolts used in Pipe Couplings, Restraints, Joints, Flanges, and Saddles for State Revolving Fund (SRF) Projects

On August 24, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed the third and Final Extension of the Short-Term National Product Waiver for Stainless Steel Nuts & Bolts used in Pipe Couplings, Restraints, Joints, Flanges, and Saddles for CW & DW SRF projects.

With this third and final extension, the waiver will retroactively cover nuts and bolts purchased since February 18, 2018 and be extended 18 months from the signing date of this waiver (sunset date). This waiver will not be renewed after the sunset date.

The original, approved waiver provides details regarding the specific types of products covered by and the rationale for issuance of the waiver. This national product waiver extension is short-term, applying to the covered products if those products are purchased by the assistance recipient or their authorized representatives (i.e., construction contractor) up until the sunset date.

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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 AIS 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 general AIS and waiver procedure questions to:
Becky Scott or Frank Fuja
Direct project-specific AIS questions to your assigned DNR construction management engineer (CME).

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Disclaimer of guidance: This document is intended solely as guidance and does not contain any mandatory requirements except where requirements found in statute or administrative rule are referenced. Any regulatory decisions made by the Department of Natural Resources in any matter addressed by this guidance will be made by applying the governing statutes and administrative rules to the relevant facts.

Last revised: Friday May 15 2020