Say Bye Bye to Waiting on BABA Waivers!

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

When you choose Smith & Loveless, you get less red tape… and more American-made quality.

The sourcing requirement passed by Congress in 2021 known as the Build America, Buy America Act (BABAA) requires all iron and steel manufactured products and construction materials used in federally-funded infrastructure projects to be produced in the United States. 

It is a great policy – in theory – to simultaneously support U.S. manufacturing and U.S. infrastructure – including the water sector.  The act provides trillions of federal dollars for building and improving U.S. infrastructure while ensuring that the funding makes its way to the domestic suppliers and manufacturers for these projects.

However, in practice, the Act creates unintended hassles for stakeholders in U.S. Water and Wastewater Utility construction projects when procuring wastewater equipment from manufacturers that are not compliant with the Build America, Buy America (BABA) provisions. Sorting out manufacturer compliance, for example, can be challenging given that so many suppliers in the water/wastewater market are foreign-owned. Meanwhile how to calculate the domestic content makeup of manufactured products – ensuring greater than 50 percent inclusion – introduces many variables like how to factor labor and buyout items.

The resulting red tape causes funding and project delays for critical infrastructure projects at Water Resource Recovery Facilities and Potable Water Treatment Plants.

WaterOnline recently explored this rising issue in an article entitled “Buy American’ Regulations Could Be Stalling Critical Water, Wastewater Infrastructure Projects”

The article quotes the project manager of a project in Arizona affected adversely by BABA provisions, in which the procurement team struggled to find suppliers willing to certify compliance, and as a result, the project costs grew by $2 million. 

Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – somewhat similarly to what it did during BABA’s precursors, ARRA (2009) and American Iron & Steel (2014) – provides waivers. Previously, those waivers covered manufacturers – actual U.S. and foreign-owned U.S. operations – in ways that BABA no longer does.

Requesting such a waiver for the domestic sourcing requirement from the federal government (in the case of public interest, availability or cost) is not guaranteed and therefore can prolong the procurement process. Fortunately, there are wastewater equipment manufacturers that do self-certify full compliance with BABA provisions so that the extra step of obtaining waivers can be avoided.

Smith & Loveless is one of those companies and proud to say that 100 percent of our wastewater equipment is American Made and compliant with BABA. And we have the self-certification letters that attest.


Here are specific ways in which Smith & Loveless complies with BABA provisions:


Smith & Loveless manufactures 100 percent of its water and wastewater grit, treatment and pumping products utilizing American-produced goods and raw materials at its U.S. fabrication facilities including at its headquarters in Lenexa, Kansas, pictured below.

A large factory with machineryDescription automatically generated with medium confidence


Steel - Smith & Loveless procures several thousand tons of steel a year for the manufacture of its complete line of water and wastewater equipment—all of which comes from U.S. Steel Mills.

Castings - We’re proud that all steel castings come from U.S. foundries. Unlike many of our industry competitors, we don’t maintain any reliance on foreign foundries, nor do we experience the delays often associated with such dependence.

A red metal object with holesDescription automatically generated

Motors - All Smith & Loveless wastewater pumps utilize quality motors, which come from a network of suppliers all based in the United States.

A group of machines on a palletDescription automatically generated

Control Panels - All Smith & Loveless control panels are made in the S&L Control Panel shop at the main factory in Lenexa.

A machine outside with trees in the backgroundDescription automatically generated


When it comes to BABA, you can specify Smith & Loveless pumps and pump stations, grit removal and headworks equipment, and its complete line of field-erected and package treatment plants knowing that they are truly made-in-the-USA.  

Privacy Statement | ©2016-2024, Smith & Loveless. All Rights Reserved.