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May 19, 2009
     
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Government Relations


SRF Bill advances in Senate

A bill (S.1005) to reauthorize the State Revolving Funds and improve water and wastewater infrastructure in the United States was marked up in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Thursday, May14. The National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) is encouraged that with this bill, Senate leaders have taken strides to address issues critical to our nation’s drinking water and wastewater systems.

The Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CW-SRF) and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DW-SRF) were last reauthorized 22 years ago and 13 years ago, respectively. The introduction of S. 1005 is very timely, given the current state of the nation’s infrastructure and the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act earlier this year. NAWC supports Congress’ efforts to continue to address the issues surrounding water infrastructure financing, water quality and sustainability.

“NAWC commends the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works for renewing its commitment to the established and successful State Revolving Loan Fund programs for water and wastewater infrastructure financing,” remarked Louis Jenny, deputy executive director of government affairs and public relations, NAWC. “We also commend the leaders of this Committee for expanding the reach of the SRF to make the benefits of low-cost wastewater funding available to all Americans.”

Bi-partisan support for the bill further underscores the importance of such legislation. Among the provisions in the bill are $35 billion in funding for water projects expected to take more than five years, including infrastructure, recycling and conservation measures. Of that, $20 billion is allotted for the CW-SRF and the DW-SRF could receive up to $14.7 billion in funding.

NAWC supports making the benefits of the State Revolving Funds available to all wastewater utility customers through an expanded scope of eligible wastewater purveyors. The Association also supports the expanded scope of eligible projects to include treatment works security, water conservation, water reuse, energy efficiency, asset and utility management improvement plans, and watershed improvement plans.

Additionally, NAWC is pleased with the provision that would preclude non-compliant treatment works from receiving the benefit of federal funding unless there is a plan to take corrective action, resolve violations, and move towards compliance with health and environmental laws.

 

Obama’s FY 2010 Budget Calls for an Increase In Water Funding

President Obama released an FY 2010 budget blueprint that called for an increase in the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget, including a boost for water and wastewater infrastructure. Obama’s budget would provide $10.5 billion to the EPA — a $2.9 billion increase over FY 2009. In addition to this increase, the EPA received $7.2 billion under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that it is still in the process of being allocated.

The Obama administration’s request includes $2.4 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (a $1.7 billion increase) and $1.5 billion for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (a $671 million increase).