The Border Environment Infrastructure Fund (BEIF), for project implementation, and the Project Development Assistance Program (PDAP), for project development and design, are grant programs funded by the U.S. Congress through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and administered by NADB.

Border Environment Infrastructure Fund

This program offers grant financing exclusively for the implementation of high-priority municipal drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects located within 100 kilometers of the U.S.-Mexico border.

The objective of the BEIF program is to make infrastructure projects affordable by combining grant funds with loans and other forms of financing for communities along the border. It is designed to reduce project debt to a manageable level in cases where utility customers would face undue financial hardship and projects could not be implemented.

Because water and wastewater infrastructure needs in the border region exceed available grant funds, EPA uses a prioritization process to identify and select projects that address the most critical public health and environmental needs. This process allows the program to target limited funding to projects with the highest benefit in terms of public health and environmental risk, cost-effectiveness, institutional capacity, and sustainability. To be considered eligible for the prioritization process, projects in both countries must address existing conditions that if improved will have a positive impact on the health and environment in the United States.

Project application and prioritization cycles for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects were recently concluded:

  • August 1, 2017 for EPA Region 9, which covers the states of Arizona, California, Baja California and Sonora.
  • October 1, 2017 for EPA Region 6, which covers the border region in states of New Mexico, Texas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas.

After the initial application evaluation, ranking and selection process, the application cycle is expected to remain open with evaluations occurring on a periodic basis to update the ranked project list. Project selection will depend on the availability of funding. 

EPA Region 6 Project Application EPA Region 9 Project Application

Project Development Assistance Program

Through this program, EPA offers technical assistance to support communities with development activities necessary for the certification and implementation of projects selected to receive BEIF funding. Grant funding is available for planning studies, environmental assessments, final design, financial analyses and community participation efforts, among other activities.

General Eligibility Criteria

Only water and wastewater infrastructure projects located within 100 kilometers (62 miles) of the U.S.-Mexico border will be considered for funding.  BEIF funds may be used to support projects that serve a single community or regional approaches that serve multiple communities and/or outlying areas.  Eligibility is based on a set of general project criteria.

  • Projects must address an existing human health and/or ecological issue. Priority will be given to those projects likely to have the most impact.
  • Projects must have a U.S.-side benefit. Priority will be given to projects with benefits on both sides of the border.
  • Only projects that meet or agree to meet project certification criteria will be selected.
  • Priority will be given to projects with maximum funding from other sources and where program funding (BEIF) is necessary to complete financing of the project.
  • Adequate planning, operations and maintenance, and pretreatment provisions are prerequisite to detailed design and construction financing.
  • Community infrastructure only will be selected.
  • For drinking water projects, drinking water quality projects only will be selected, not raw water supply. Therefore, only drinking water treatment plants and treated water distribution systems will be covered.
  • Projects where the discharge is directly or indirectly to U.S. side waters, must target achievement of U.S. norms for ambient water quality in U.S. side waters, although infrastructure development may be phased over time. Any flow reductions that result from implementation of non-discharging alternatives must not threaten U.S. or shared ecosystems.
  • Project funding intended for U.S. colonias will not be available unless the state, county or respective municipal government has established an enforceable local ordinance, or other zoning rule, which prevents the development or construction of any additional colonia areas or further development within an existing colonia without necessary infrastructure. 

General Funding Requirements

Projects selected to receive a BEIF grant must complete project development activities, including obtaining environmental clearances and finalizing design, as well as obtain project certification and sign the grant agreement with NADB within two and a half (2.5) years of receiving notification of project selection.  Moreover, the project must be able to complete construction within three (3) years following the signing of the BEIF grant agreement for construction funding.

Project Cost & Complementary Funding
The cost of any project shall not exceed US$30 million.  Project sponsors are generally expected to finance part of the project with a debt component and must be able to confirm the commitment of other funding sources to complement BEIF grant prior to certification. 

In order to ensure the protection of infrastructure associated with BEIF funding, all project sponsors must have made or be willing to make adequate provisions for pretreatment of industrial/commercial sewage prior to construction financing. Also, EPA requires the incorporation of appropriate cost-effectiveness and sustainable building principles into all phases of project development: planning, design and construction. Project sponsors may consult with BECC/NADB for more details regarding these policies.

Project sponsors are responsible for the procurement of all goods and services related to the project. However, procurement of goods and services with BEIF funds must be carried out in compliance with NADB Procurement Policies and Procedures.

Grant Determination

All BEIF funding proposals are prepared by NADB on a case-by-case basis and are subject to final approval by EPA.

Upon completion of the final design, NADB conducts a comprehensive financial analysis of the project, utility and community that takes into consideration eligible projects costs and the availability of other funding. During the analysis, NADB identifies the project sponsor's maximum debt capacity and works with the sponsor to develop a financial plan for constructing the project. 

NADB then determines the amount of BEIF grant necessary to make a project affordable and to complete the financial plan. However, the BEIF contribution for any project cannot exceed US$8 million.

For Mexican projects, NADB coordinates with the Mexican national water agency, Comisión Nacional de Agua (CONAGUA) and ensures that the requirement for matching funds is met.

Uses of Funds

BEIF resources may be used to help make projects affordable through two financial mechanisms:

Construction assistance may be applied towards the costs of construction, including residential hook-ups and construction management.
Transition assistance is designed to ease a community’s adjustment to higher user fees over time.  Grant funds are used to help pay system debt up to a seven-year period, so that user fees may be gradually raised to the level required for the system to become self-sustaining with proper operations and maintenance. Transition assistance is only available for projects located in the United States.