Statement: Senate hearing shows urgent need to fix water infrastructure

Media Contacts
Josh Chetwynd

Laura Miller

Environment America urges federal funding to stop sewage and get the lead out

Environment America

WASHINGTON — As the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing Wednesday morning, Environment America called on Congress to dramatically boost funding to stop sewage overflows and contamination of drinking water.

Sewage and runoff pollution continue to threaten public health with pathogen pollution, and lead contamination of drinking water is widespread, even in our schools. The American Society of Civil Engineers recently gave America’s wastewater infrastructure a D+ grade and drinking water a C-. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that we will need $271 billion for wastewater infrastructure, and over $472 billion for drinking water infrastructure over the next 20 years.

Specifically, Environment America is calling on Congress to invest in water infrastructure in the following ways: 

  • $10 billion per year for both the clean water and drinking water state revolving funds;
  • A 20 percent carve-out for natural infrastructure to prevent runoff pollution at the source;
  • Dedicated funding of $46 billion to fully replace all lead service lines within 10 years;
  • $1 billion to help schools get the lead out;
  • Reforms to ensure that funding is accessible to all communities

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

“From millions of lead pipes to billions of gallons in sewage overflows, our water infrastructure is in desperate need of an upgrade. Sewage spills and stormwater runoff pollution plague our favorite waterways even in winter. Our drinking water is at risk as well, as nearly 2,000 delivery systems across the country are built with lead, which is a potent neurotoxin that affects how our children learn, grow and behave.

“All this requires unprecedented funding, which is urgently needed, especially as the federal share of water infrastructure spending has dropped precipitously. What’s worse, these water woes will grow if we don’t act now, as climate change heightens the likelihood and severity of storms and flooding.

“We know that investing in water infrastructure works — and 84 percent of the public supports increasing funding for water infrastructure. This is a figure that should spur bold bipartisan action on Capitol Hill.

“The time when we take clean water for granted is in the past; now we must invest to make sure future generations have safe and clean water flowing from rivers and their taps.”

staff | TPIN

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