California lawmaker Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-West Covina, has joined forces with Rep. Pete DeFazio, D-Oregon, to introduce legislation that will help cities and communities finance critical clean water infrastructure projects.

The “Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2016” would invest $20 billion over five years in wastewater infrastructure through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and other efforts to improve water quality — and create thousands of new, living wage construction jobs.

As well as $20 billion to the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, the bill would add: $1.5 billion for state agencies to implement water pollution rules; $600 million for finding new ways to capture stormwater; $2.5 billion for correcting sewage overflows, and $250 million for projects that create alternative sources.

“The Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act will help to address the current crisis we are facing in the West due to ongoing drought and increased stormwater control issues. It makes tremendous investments in water recycling and reuse, groundwater recharge, and stormwater projects, priorities we have worked on for decades in Southern California,” said Napolitano, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment.

Napolitano went on to explain that the bill “delivers critical assistance to cities and water agencies to meet the demands of their water customers with cost effective and reliable solutions, as well as construct stormwater systems to address Clean Water Act stormwater permits.”

88 Los Angeles County cities are facing a staggering $20 billion price tag for stormwater permits to clean up urban runoff pollution. Since each city creates toxic runoff through its streets and hard surfaces, each is required to work separately toward cleaning up the runoff before it pollutes the ocean. Cities complain that the MS4 Permit (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Permit) imposes staggering costs that amount to 40 to 60 percent of cities’ annual budgets and could bankrupt smaller cities.

“America’s water infrastructure is in dire need of renewed Federal investment. Our communities need close to $300 billion of investment over the next 20 years to protect clean water and bring systems to a state of good repair. We cannot continue to neglect the serious needs of our aging water infrastructure system,” said DeFazio, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Source: Rep. Napolitano Press release