Drinking Water, Stormwater, Wastewater

With the unveiling of President Biden’s ambitious $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs plan, it’s more than roads, bridges, ports, and transit systems getting attention. Also included in the “American Jobs Plan” is an unprecedented $111 billion investment slated for water infrastructure over the next 10 years.

Part of the ‘Plan’

“Across the country, pipes and treatment plants are aging and polluted drinking water is endangering public health,” The White House Fact Sheet states. “An estimated six to 10 million homes still receive drinking water through lead pipes and service lines.”

In an effort to eliminate 100% of lead pipes and service lines in the country, President Biden is calling on Congress to invest $45 billion in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and in Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN) grants.

The plan also calls for $56 billion in grants and low-cost flexible loans to states, Tribes, territories, and disadvantaged communities across the country to modernize aging drinking water, stormwater, and wastewater systems by scaling up existing, successful programs.

An additional $10 billion in funding is proposed to monitor and remediate PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in drinking water and to invest in rural small water systems and household well and wastewater systems, including drainage fields.

Infrastructure investment

Safe and clean water is important for everything we do at home, work and in the community. It’s also a wise investment as a 2016 study by the Water Environment Federation and WateReuse Association found: for every federal dollar of federal State Revolving Funds (SRF) spending, 21.4% is returned to the federal government in the form of taxes. The Drinking Water (DW) and Clean Water (CW) and SRF  programs are “considered to be among the most successful infrastructure funding programs administered by the federal government.”

As the title of this administration’s “American Jobs Plan” indicates, investing in this vital infrastructure will also put thousands of Americans to work as it aims to create good jobs, including union and prevailing wage jobs.

Experts at the US Water Alliance note, “It is heartening to see water be prominently featured in the plan after years of water infrastructure being out of sight and out of mind. We commend today’s commitment to water infrastructure as a reflection and recognition of political will to take action to begin to close the water infrastructure investment gap.”

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