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American Iron and Steel Requirement Overview (AIS)

The American Iron and Steel (AIS) provision requires USDA Rural Utilities Service (RUS) Water and Environmental Programs (WEP) assistance recipients to use iron and steel products that are produced in the United States. This requirement applies to projects for the construction, alteration, maintenance, or repair of water and waste infrastructure. WEP has developed guidance on how to implement and comply with this requirement.

The AIS provision is a requirement for all WEP projects. AIS is mandated by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017, Section 746 Division A, Title VII. For details, see Legal Authority below.
The appropriation language sets forth certain circumstances under which WEP may waive AIS requirements. For details, see Waiver Process.

AIS Legal Authority

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017 (Section 746 Division A of Title VII) includes an AIS requirement.  WEP assistance recipients are required to use iron and steel products that are produced in the United States for projects for the construction, alteration, maintenance, or repair of water and waste infrastructure executed beginning after May 5, 2017 (enactment of the Act) and subsequent statutes mandating domestic preference.

Waiver Process

Each local entity that receives WWD water infrastructure financial assistance is required to use American made iron and steel products in the construction of its project. However, if the recipient can justify a claim made under one of the categories below, a waiver may be granted. Until a waiver is granted by WEP, the AIS requirement must be adhered to as described in the Act.

A waiver may be provided if WEP determines that:

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

WEP's guidance on AIS requirements includes specific instructions for communities interested in applying for a waiver.

  • Assistance recipients should submit waiver requests to the National Office via the email address listed below.
  • After receiving a complete application for a waiver, WEP will publish the waiver request and all material submitted with the application on this website for 15 days.
  • During that period, the public will have the opportunity to review the request and provide informal comment to WEP.
  • Comments on WWD waiver requests can be submitted to: wepengineering@usda.gov.

De minimis waiver

All projects are encouraged to consider utilizing the de minimis waiver for items incidental to the primary purpose of the project. One item cannot exceed 1% of the total material costs and all items using the de minimis waiver cannot exceed 5% of the total material costs.

Inquiries and Comments

General inquiries and concerns regarding the AIS requirement may be sent to: wepengineering@usda.gov. This includes specific questions and comments about products, projects, and availability. Comments on WEP waiver requests can be submitted to: wepengineering@usda.gov.

Confidential Business Information should not be submitted to these email boxes. If fraud, waste, abuse or any violation of the law is suspected, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) should be contacted immediately. OIG can be reached at: https://www.usda.gov/oig/hotline.htm. More information can be found at: https://www.usda.gov/oig/

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