July 15, 2009
Susan Bruninga, (202) 833-3280
NACWA Director of Public Affairs
NACWA Applauds Introduction of Water Protection and Reinvestment Act
The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) applauds the introduction today of the Water Protection and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 3202), a bill to establish a water trust fund to address the funding gap for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure. The bill would provide about $10 billion annually to address this funding gap, which has been estimated by EPA, the Water Infrastructure Network (WIN), and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) at $300-$500 billion over the next 20 years.
“Clearly, this is an important milestone in the efforts of the clean water community to obtain a long-term, sustainable revenue source to help our communities provide strong protections for our environment and public health and ensure economic prosperity,” Kevin Shafer, NACWA’s incoming president and executive director of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, said. “We appreciate the hard work by Congressman Blumenauer and his staff both for recognizing the critical need facing our nation’s cities and towns and for working so hard to make this bill a reality.”
Thomas Walsh, engineer-director of the Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement District, spoke a press conference today about the needs of his community and of cities across the country who face ongoing challenges in meeting their water quality objectives including growing populations; aging infrastructure; tighter regulatory requirements and enhanced enforcement by EPA; as well as potential impacts from climate change.
“To compensate, local utilities have had to implement double-digit rate increases,” Walsh said. “At my utility, we have raised our rates by 450 percent since 2008 to pay debt service for our treatment plant upgrades.”
NACWA also thanks Reps. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), Thomas Petri (R-Wis.), and Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio) for cosponsoring this important piece of legislation.
NACWA will testify at a hearing later today before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment about the challenges cities face and the need for a clean water trust fund. Testifying on NACWA’s behalf will be Thomas Walsh, engineer-director of the Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement District in Worcester, Mass., which has had to quadruple its rates since 2000 to cover the debt service on a loan to upgrade its treatment plant.
NACWA looks forward to working with Reps. Blumenauer, Simpson, Petri, Dicks, and LaTourette as well as other members to ensure this legislation is passed and signed into law.
NACWA represents the interests of more than 300 public agencies and organizations that have made the pursuit of scientifically based, technically sound and cost effective laws and regulations their objective. NACWA members serve the majority of the sewered population in the United States and collectively treat and reclaim more than 18 billion gallons of wastewater daily.