Good news from the Clean Water Construction Coalition, ECA’s national affiliate for action in Washington—a bipartisan effort from the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure would if passed, authorize $50 billion in direct wastewater infrastructure investment over the next five years. 

The proposed bill – “Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021” – comes as the first significant action on infrastructure by the new Congress. In an announcement March 16th, Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Chair of the committee, Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA), Chair of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (RPA), a leading member of the committee from the minority party, announced the bill’s introduction. 

The Clean Water Construction Coalition is listed as an early supporter of this bill as it meets our funding level objectives for the Clean Water SRF programs and more. Specifically, the bill would authorize $40 billion over five years ($8 billion/year) in wastewater infrastructure investments through the Clean Water SRF, which provides low-interest loans, loan subsidizations, and grants to communities for wastewater infrastructure.

These funding levels are approximately a four-fold increase of $6.37 billion additional funding/year from current funding levels ($1.63 billion/year). Recent national infrastructure needs surveys for wastewater, combined sewer, and other stormwater assets support these levels: 

  • Authorize an additional $2 billion for grants to municipalities to capture, treat, or reuse sewer overflows or stormwater
  • Authorize new program funding for $2.5 billion in grants for states to implement water pollution control programs.
  • Provide $1 billion for Clean Water pilot programs for watershed-based efforts to address wet weather discharges, promote stormwater best practices, undertake integrated water resource management, and increase climate resiliency.
  • Authorize $1 billion in grants for alternative water source projects, such as wastewater or stormwater reuse, to augment the existing water supplies.
  • Provide $1 billion in Clean Water Act grants to municipalities to implement treatment standards for PFAS and other emerging contaminants. 
  •  Provide $2.5 billion in wastewater infrastructure assistance to address the backlog of critical needs for Tribal Nations. 

Sante Esposito, the CWCC’s Washington Legislative Advocate, has been in constant contact with Congressional leaders and staffers on this matter. CWCC is pushing for a “clean” bill to move to the Senate that focuses on funding these critical programs and is devoid of attached issues that will erode the bipartisan nature of the effort

But, in his report to association members, Esposito noted, “It is likely this bill will be bundled into a larger infrastructure package” like President Biden’s $3+ trillion plan.

By Dave Sorem, P.E. ECA Government Affairs Chairman email: [email protected]