Statement: In a good first step toward clean water, Senate passes bipartisan water infrastructure bill

Media Contacts
Josh Chetwynd

Laura Miller

Wendy Wendlandt

President, Environment America; Senior Vice President, The Public Interest Network

But more investment beyond this act is necessary

Environment America

WASHINGTON — The Senate passed the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021 on Thursday, The legislation would provide a boost to water infrastructure by authorizing more than $35 billion over a five year period for water resource projects. The bill also improves programs to replace lead pipes and stop lead contamination of schools’ water, and creates a program to increase water affordability.

Sewage and runoff pollution continue to threaten public health with pathogen pollution. In addition, lead contamination of drinking water is widespread, even in our schools. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that we will need $271 billion for wastewater infrastructure, and more than $472 billion for drinking water infrastructure over the next 20 years.

Environment America’s President Wendy Wendlandt issued the following statement:

“We applaud Chairs Tammy Duckworth and Tom Carper, and Ranking Members Shelley Moore Capito and Cynthia Lummis for spearheading this important legislation, and addressing our water woes with bipartisan action. This legislation makes critically important investments in our outdated and failing water infrastructure. Our country may be divided, but this bill is a testament that we can make progress by starting where there is common ground.”

Environment America’s Clean Water Advocate Laura Miller issued the following statement:

“Nearly fifty years ago, our nation set goals for making all our waterways safe for swimming and ensuring safe drinking water from every tap. Yet, sewage spills and stormwater runoff pollution plague our favorite waterways even in the winter. And, our drinking water continues to be at risk from widespread lead contamination, even in schools where our children go to learn and play every day. Clearly, our water infrastructure is in desperate need of an upgrade and we applaud the senators who voted to make such an investment.

“But there is much more to do. We’ll keep working with our elected leaders to reinstate the 20 percent carve-out for natural and green infrastructure and provide full funding to get the lead out of our drinking water systems.

“Environment America has been building the case for the historic investments needed to address these threats to clean water. We have showcased both the need for funding, with reports such as Safe for Swimming? and Get the Lead Out, and the solutions at our fingertips, as seen in A Path to Cleaner Water. Additionally, Environment America is delivering proof to our leaders of the great public support for clean water. This has included a letter signed by more than 130 businesses and one from more than 360 local officials. We have solutions to the problems our waterways and drinking water face — solutions boasting bipartisan public support.”