Blog  /  May 2018  /  Q1 2018 Regional Roundup: Part 3/3

Blog Post Teaser

This blog series examines major trends and newsworthy events that occurred in the US water industry during the first quarter of 2018.  The third part of the series focuses on activity within the Midwest/Great Lakes and Central Plains regions of the US, as well as grant and funding information related to the water industry.



The Midwest/Great Lakes region consists of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

  • In the first quarter of 2018, the greatest demand for infrastructure improvements and upgrades in the US occurred in the Midwest/Great Lakes region, with Michigan and Illinois representing just over half of the region’s demand.   The Midwest/Great Lakes region also generated the largest demand for surface, coating, and lining products across the country, with Illinois accounting for nearly 35 percent of the region’s demand during the first quarter of 2018.
  • In early January 2018, Michigan established cleanup rules for two unregulated fluorochemicals – perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) – that are polluting the state’s drinking water supplies.  Specifically, the new rule states that if residential or commercial drinking water contains per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) levels at or above 70 parts per trillion, remediation is in order.   The setting of limits for these chemical contaminants marks the first time Michigan has had any such thresholds for PFAS.
  • In February 2018, 3M Company settled a lawsuit with the state of Minnesota for $850 million, thereby ending eight years of litigation over former Scotchgard ingredients  – perfluorinated chemicals – that got into the state’s drinking water.  With these funds, the state plans to finance projects involving clean drinking water and water sustainability.
  • In March 2018, a pair of Ohio lawmakers proposed the Clean Lake 2020 Plan, which is expected to provide up to $100 million in funding per year for five years to support efforts to reduce harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie and promote agricultural best practices. 



The Central Plains region consists of Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.  

  • During the first quarter of 2018, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska had the greatest need for infrastructure improvements and upgrades in the Central Plains, collectively accounting for 45 percent of the region’s total demand.  Additionally, Kansas and Missouri were the largest buyers of equipment, parts, and materials in the Central Plains, together comprising nearly one-half of the region’s total purchases in the first quarter of 2018.
  • In late January 2018, the Montana Board of Environmental Review was considering a change in the state’s rules for waterway pollution that would affect discharge permit holders downstream from other polluters.  Specifically, under the terms of the proposed rule, firms and agencies could gain a variance from water quality standards as long as they meet certain criteria.
  • As of early February 2018, Iowa legislators were making efforts to improve water quality throughout the state via the passing of a $282 million water quality bill.  Funding from the bill will support two different projects:  the Edge-of-Field Infrastructure Program, which is focused on long-term projects that capture or filter nutrients that can enter surface water; and the In-Field Infrastructure Program, which helps long-term projects aimed at decreasing erosion and surface water runoff.   For Iowa farmers, the passing of this bill means $150 million in funding for cover crops, bioreactors, saturated buffers and other practices intended to keep excess phosphorus and nitrogen from entering Iowa’s streams and lakes.
  • In mid-February 2018, the board of the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District adopted a new groundwater plan aimed at protecting water quality in an area that serves approximately 770,000 residents.  The plan limits farmers’ use of nonorganic fertilizers and the digging distance allowed between certain wells.  Organic fertilizers such as manure and sludge from municipal sewage treatment plans are exempt from the new groundwater plan.
  • In late February 2018, Pitkin County became the second county in Colorado – following the City and County of Denver – able to issue permits for graywater systems that enable some household water to be reused to flush toilets and irrigate lawns.  Additionally, the City of Aspen is considering adopting a graywater permitting system to complement its newly implemented water-efficient landscaping regulations.  



  • Nearly 70 percent of undeployed financing opportunities in the US water sector during the first quarter of 2018 were accessible through government entities or agencies, while the remaining opportunities were offered via non-profit organizations, private investors, and other atypical sources.  For example, the Colorado Department of Natural Resources is offering grants and loans to public districts and other eligible entities in Colorado to address critical water supply issues and interests, while the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority has grants available for towns, cities, and counties in New Hampshire to support water and sewer system improvements in low- and moderate-income communities.
  • In the first quarter of 2018, more than 40 percent of funding opportunities available within the US water industry were related to research and technology endeavors, including the development of innovative water saving devices, technologies, and strategies.
  • Additionally, capital for market development and expansion activities represented 20 percent of the US water sector’s undeployed funding opportunities in the first quarter of 2018.  For example, there was financing available to help small businesses and other organizations acquire working capital, equipment, and other assets.


For additional market data relevant to your region or segment of the water industry, please contact our team via the following e-mail: