A bill has been introduced in Congress calling for an appropriation of $23.5 billion to build and maintain wastewater and storm water treatment facilities across the country.
The Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2019 would additionally authorize the federal Clean Water State Revolving Fund to support point and non-point source water pollution control programs, while also creating storm water best management practices programs.
The Clean Water State Revolving Fund requires a 20 percent state match for all funded wastewater and storm water infrastructure improvement projects.
Since its founding in 1987, that fund has leveraged some $126 million in basic waste water infrastructure improvements nationally.
A 2016 study conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that up to $271 billion will be needed in the next several years to pay for all of the country’s wastewater and storm water infrastructure needs.
The Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act, introduced in the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, will specifically make pointed investments in water recycling and groundwater recharge projects.
In a statement, Peter DeFazio, chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said the country’s water infrastructure is “in dire need of federal investment to make sure we don’t go back to the bad old days before adoption of the Clean Water Act when waterways were so polluted they caught fire or couldn’t support marine life.”
DeFazio added that the proposed legislation will make the nation’s water infrastructure “more resilient to disasters, and more affordable for all communities.”
The bill, if it wins Congressional approval, will also make available roughly $900 million in grants to treat and reuse sanitary sewer overflows; with another $375 million going to alternative water source projects.
By Garry Boulard
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