Senate Committee Releases Draft Water Infrastructure Bills


The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee released the text of two water infrastructure bills. The first, America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020, deals with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects and infrastructure regulated under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The second, the Drinking Water Act of 2020, deals with infrastructure and programs regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).
 
The draft CWA bill would authorize roughly $17 billion to increase water storage, improve flood protection, deepen U.S. ports, and repair aging wastewater and irrigation systems. Specific provisions included in the legislation include:
 
  • Reauthorization of the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) for FY 2021 at $2 billion, FY 2022 at $2.5 billion, and FY 2023 at $3 billion;
  • Reauthorizes the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program through FY 2024 at $50 million per year;
  • Reauthorizes the Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grant program for FY 2021-22 at $250 million;
  • Reauthorizes the Water Workforce grant program from America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 through FY 2024 at $2 million per year;
  • Creates a grant program for low and moderate income individuals with decentralized wastewater systems at $15 million per year for FY 2021 and FY2022;
  • Creates a grant program to cover costs incurred from connecting households to municipal and private wastewater systems at $20 million per year for FY 2021 and FY 2022; and
  • Creates a discretionary grant program at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for Publicly-Owned Treatment Works (POTW) at $50 million through FY 2024.
 
The draft SDWA bill includes roughly $2.5 billion in federal authorizations for water projects, including those under the Safe Drinking Water Act, giving local communities additional technical assistance to improve water quality, including:
 
  • Language requiring states to use 20% of Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) funding for grants, negative interest loans, and debt acquisition;
  • Establishes an Operational Sustainability program under SDWA for public water systems, funded at $10 million through FY 2024; and
  • Establishes a lead mapping pilot program to help communities find and map lead service lines in use in their drinking water systems, funded at $10 million to be used until expended.
 
With social distancing procedures in place, the Committee is holding a “paper hearing” on the bills on April 22. Comments on the legislation may be submitted to the Committee by May 1. It is unclear when the bill will be marked up.
 
Please visit the Committee website to see a one-page summary, section-by-section of the CWA bill, and section-by-section of the SDWA bill.