APWA Issues Letter of Support for Wastewater Infrastructure Legislation
On October 28, APWA issued a letter of support for bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF). The legislation, H.R. 1497, the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2019, is scheduled to be marked up in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Tuesday, October 29. The bill will provide a boost to this program by authorizing $14 billion for the CWSRF over five years, a substantial increase over current funding levels. Last week, the Clean Water Council (CWC), of which APWA is a member, issued a letter of support for the legislation.
The CWSRF program has played an important role in helping communities pay for necessary infrastructure improvements and has provided some $130 billion in assistance since its inception in 1987. These improvements to the nation’s wastewater systems bring numerous environmental and public health benefits, including preventing harmful pollution from entering waterways, protecting against waterborne disease, and preserving access to natural resources enjoyed during recreational activities. In addition to health benefits, investment in wastewater infrastructure also generates economic activity and supports high-paying jobs. In fact, an estimated 27,000 jobs can come with $1 billion investment in water and wastewater infrastructure.
The CWSRF program, and wastewater infrastructure programs in general, are in dire need of additional resources. Wastewater systems continue to age and the costs of compliance with environmental requirements mount. As a result, communities face increasing difficulties in paying for needed infrastructure improvements. At the same time, federal spending accounted for just 4% of all spending on wastewater utility infrastructure in recent years. Given that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) most recent assessment found that $271 billion will be needed to maintain and replace wastewater and stormwater treatment systems over the next twenty years, APWA and other stakeholder groups are encouraging Congressional support for this and other vital funding legislation.
Earlier this year, APWA issued a letter of support for a previous version of the legislation, and also signed a letter of support from the Clean Water Council, and another letter of support from water sector stakeholders.
If you have questions about this legislation, please contact APWA Government Affairs Manager Sean Garcia at sgarcia@apwa.net, or (202) 218-6734.