Nov 09, 2021

Water & Wastewater Industry Associations Respond to Infrastructure Bill

Water & wastewater associations weigh in on the passage of the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act

water-quality

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (H.R. 3684), a nearly $1.2 trillion bill that includes $550 billion in new spending Nov. 5.

$55 billion of that new spending is allocated to drinking water, wastewater, and storm water infrastructure funding aimed at expanding access to clean drinking water for households, businesses, schools, and child care centers across the country. For a complete breakdown of what is in the bill, read our breakdown article here: 

Water Environment Federation (WEF)

WEF showed support for this package, noting that it is similar to what was passed by the Senate in Apr. 2021 in the Drinking Water & Wastewater Infrastructure Act.

"With the final passage by Congress of this infrastructure package, the water sector will get the largest boost in federal funding for local water infrastructure it has received in decades," said WEF President Jamie Eichenberger in a press release. "This massive funding increase is the result of years of hard work by WEF and our members to make Congress understand the desperate need for water infrastructure investments in communities nationwide."

With the IIJA, WEF sent a letter opposing the Buy America requirements that will expand in SRF and WIFIA to include “manufactured goods,” but agreed with almost all other aspects of the bill. WEF had also previously sent a letter to the U.S. House in support of the earlier version of a water infrastructure bill. 

American Water Works Association (AWWA)

AWWA provided commentary about the IIJA, noting the importance of funding for the WIFIA, SRF and lead service line programs.

"Renewing and upgrading the nation's water infrastructure is critical to protect public health, safeguard the environment and allow our economy to prosper,” said AWWA CEO David LaFrance. “As the largest association of water professionals in the world, AWWA is grateful to the U.S. Congress and President Biden for making water infrastructure a priority in enacting the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. By reauthorizing the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act and doubling funding for the drinking water State Revolving Fund, the federal government is helping states and local water providers to spur on critical water projects. In addition, the $15 billion designated for lead service line replacement is a welcome down payment on what could be a $60 billion challenge.”

National Ground Water Association (NGWA)

NGWA provided commentary about the significant industry-specific provisions in the bill, but critiqued the amount of investment for a few of the provisions.

“While we would have preferred to see a larger investment in private water well infrastructure, especially in rural America, this bill does provide crucial funding for aquifer recharge projects, storm water management, and PFAS remediation, all of which will support groundwater supply and quality throughout the country,” said Brian Snelten, NGWA president-elect.

US Water Alliance

US Water Alliance applauded that the IIJA will pour resources into programs that get funding into the hands of localities, and also noted the provisions are more equity-centered, although “this legislation is not without its gaps.” 

“We are thrilled to see this historic investment in our nation’s water infrastructure, and we look forward to deploying our network to achieve the best implementation for these funds,” said Mami Hara, US Water Alliance CEO in a press release. “We also look forward to the forthcoming Reconciliation legislation, which also potentially includes additional important water and climate provisions. Investing in infrastructure—specifically water—has vast support from the overwhelming majority of Americans. Water is too essential to wait.” 

The US Water Alliance also reacted to the infrastructure package the Senate passed in August.

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