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DeFazio Introduces Legislation to Help Communities Across the Country Upgrade Their Wastewater Infrastructure and Address Local Water Quality Challenges

Mar 16, 2021
Press Release
The Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021 provides an infusion of Federal assistance for the construction, repair, and replacement of the Nation’s network of wastewater and stormwater conveyance and treatment facilities

Washington, D.C. — Today, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) is set to introduce the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021. This bipartisan legislation would authorize $50 billion in direct infrastructure investment over the next five years to address America’s crumbling wastewater infrastructure and local water quality challenges. The bill would also significantly increase the amount of Federal assistance made available to States and communities through the successful Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) program—the primary source of Federal assistance for wastewater infrastructure construction—which has not been reauthorized by Congress since 1987.
 
In addition, the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021 would create thousands of jobs in the construction and wastewater sectors, reduce the cost of constructing and maintaining that infrastructure, accelerate efforts to increase the resiliency of wastewater infrastructure, promote energy efficiency and water efficiency, reduce the potential long-term operation and maintenance costs of publicly-owned sewage treatment plants, and clarify requirements that American-made iron and steel be used for construction of wastewater infrastructure funded under the Clean Water Act, regardless of whether it is funded through the Clean Water SRF or other Clean Water infrastructure grant programs.
                                                                                
Specifically, the bill:

  • Authorizes $40 billion over five years in wastewater infrastructure investments through the Clean Water SRF, which provides low-interest loans, loan subsidizations, and grants to communities for wastewater infrastructure.
  • Authorizes an additional $2 billion for grants to municipalities to capture, treat, or reuse sewer overflows or stormwater.
  • Authorizes $2.5 billion in grants for States to implement State water pollution control programs.
  • Provides $1 billion for Clean Water pilot programs for watershed-based efforts to address wet weather discharges, to promote stormwater best practices, to undertake integrated water resource management, and to increase climate resiliency.
  • Authorizes $1 billion in grants for alternative water source projects, such as wastewater or stormwater reuse, to augment the existing water supplies.
  • Provides $1 billion in Clean Water Act grants to municipalities to implement treatment standards for PFAS and other emerging contaminants.
  • Provides $2.5 billion in wastewater infrastructure assistance to address the backlog of critical needs for Indian Tribes.

(Read the Section-by-Section.)
 
“Our bipartisan legislation will not only make badly-needed investments in America’s crumbling water infrastructure and help clean up local rivers, it will also create good-paying jobs—something both Democrats and Republicans can get behind,” Chair DeFazio said. “By reauthorizing the Clean Water State Revolving Fund for the first time in over three decades, we have an opportunity to invest in both rural and urban communities alike and ensure that no matter what zip code a person lives in, they will have access to clean, reliable, and safe water. I look forward to getting this bill signed into law because clean water can’t wait.”
 
The Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021 also has broad support from local municipalities, as well as environmental organizations and small businesses.
 
“The business community depends on America’s water infrastructure for the health and quality of life for our employees, customers, and families in the communities where we operate, so we appreciate the efforts of Chairs DeFazio and Napolitano and Rep. Fitzpatrick for introducing the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021,” Marty Durbin, Senior Vice President for Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said. “This bipartisan legislation includes unprecedented funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund and grants for treatment of emerging contaminants such as PFAS, among other provisions that will provide good paying, technical jobs and ensure modern, resilient wastewater infrastructure across our nation.”
 
“For too long, the costs of clean water have fallen overwhelmingly to local customers and communities as Federal investment in water declined,” Adam Krantz, CEO of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies said. “The Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021 takes critical steps to increase the federal cost share in clean water, reauthorizing the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and–critically for communities facing economic hardships–providing grant programs to help support costly challenges including investment in wet weather management and resilience.” 
 
“To protect our businesses and our environment, and to fuel economic activity, America needs a powerful Federal investment in water infrastructure,” David Levine, President of the American Sustainable Business Council said. “Failure to do so will increase water pollution and flooding and result in more costly and unreliable water utility services, harming businesses across all sectors. Conversely, making investments called for in the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021 will create needed jobs in the construction, engineering, and planning of water infrastructure and create a beneficial economic ripple effect across the whole economy.”
 
“The Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021 is a great down-payment on the infrastructure investment needed to curb the billions of gallons of sewage overflows and runoff pollution that plague our waterways and threaten our health,” Laura Miller, Clean Water Advocate for Environment America said. “Local officials from across the nation support strong investments in water infrastructure. Maximizing the effectiveness of these investments will require focusing dollars on nature-based solutions and making clean water permits stronger, not weaker. We look forward to working with the Committee on these crucial objectives as this legislation moves forward.”
 
Full List of Supporters of the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021:

  • The Alliance for the Great Lakes
  • American Concrete Pavement Association
  • American Concrete Pipe Association
  • American Concrete Pressure Pipe Association
  • American Concrete Pumping Association
  • American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC)
  • American Foundry Society (AFS)
  • American Public Works Association (APWA)
  • American Sustainable Business Council
  • American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)
  • Associated General Contractors of America (AGC)
  • Center for Biological Diversity
  • Chesapeake Bay Foundation
  • Clean Water Construction Coalition
  • Concrete Foundations Association
  • Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute
  • Ducks Unlimited (DU)
  • Environment America
  • Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition
  • Hydraulic Institute
  • International Union of Operating Engineers
  • Laborers' International Union of North America (LiUNA)
  • League of Conservation Voters (LCV)
  • Municipal Castings Association
  • National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA)
  • National Association of Counties (NACO)
  • National Association of Flood & Stormwater Management Agencies (NAFSMA)
  • National Association of Sewer Service Companies (NASSCO)
  • National Concrete Masonry Association
  • National League of Cities (NLC)
  • National Precast Concrete Association
  • National Ready Mixed Concrete Association
  • National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA)
  • National Water Resources Association (NWRA)
  • National Waterways Conference
  • National Wildlife Federation (NWF)
  • Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Plastics Pipe Institute
  • Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute
  • Portland Cement Association (PCA)
  • Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP)
  • Sierra Club
  • Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC)
  • Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP)
  • Tilt-up Concrete Association
  • Trout Unlimited
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • United States Conference of Mayors
  • Vinyl Institute
  • Water Environment Federation (WEF)
  • WateReuse Association
  • Western Recycled Water Coalition