FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 15, 2009
Susan Bruninga, (202) 833-3280
NACWA Director of Public Affairs
NACWA Testifies on Need for Clean Water Trust Fund; Supports Blumenauer Bill
The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) discussed the need for a clean water trust fund to address the large wastewater and drinking water funding gap facing our municipalities at a hearing today before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment. Testifying on behalf of NACWA was Thomas Walsh, the engineer-director and treasurer of the Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement District in Worcester, Mass., who said his utility has had to raise rates 450 percent since 2000 to cover debt service on a loan for upgrades at its treatment plants.
“The water quality gains achieved since the CWA was enacted in 1972 have essentially plateaued,” Walsh said in his testimony. “Without a significant recommitment by the federal government and a change in the regulatory paradigm, we risk rolling back the water quality gains achieved in the past 37 years.”
Walsh pointed out that municipalities face an infrastructure funding gap of $300-$500 billion over the next 20 years complicated by the challenges of a growing population, aging infrastructure, more regulatory requirements, and increased costs associated with labor and materials.
“NACWA believes that the federal government must do more to ensure long-term, sustainable funding to address the shortfall facing our nation’s publicly owned wastewater treatment agencies,” he said. “If highways merit a trust fund with $30 billion per year, and airports $10 billion per year, why should we not have one for water, a resource each of us uses every single day?”
NACWA strongly supports the Water Protection and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 3202), introduced today by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio), Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), Thomas Petri (R-Wis.), and Mike Simpson (R-Idaho). The bill would establish a clean water trust fund that would provide about $10 billion annually to address the infrastructure funding crisis.
NACWA, the Water Infrastructure Network (WIN), and others have long advocated for such an approach that would provide a long-term, sustainable revenue stream to help communities address their water quality challenges well into the future, create green, sustainable jobs, and minimize potential public health and/or economic impacts.
NACWA’s testimony will be posted on the House T&I Subcommittee website later this afternoon or contact NACWA’s
(202) 595-4082 for a copy.
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.