Manchin Secures West Virginia Priorities In Drinking Water And Wastewater Infrastructure Act
MANCHIN SECURES WEST VIRGINIA PRIORITIES IN DRINKING WATER AND WASTEWATER INFRASTRUCTURE ACT
Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) secured West Virginia priorities in the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021. The Senate passed the legislation 89-2.
“I always say that every West Virginian and American deserve clean water to drink and fresh air to breathe. Today, I voted for the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021, which includes major priorities for West Virginia,” said Senator Manchin. “This bipartisan legislation will upgrade and replace water infrastructure throughout West Virginia, as well as improve access to safe drinking water by allocating funds for rural and disadvantaged communities. I am pleased that this legislation includes funding to support our priorities in the state, and I’ll continue fighting to ensure all West Virginians have access to clean drinking water.”
West Virginia priorities in the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act:
Drinking Water & Wastewater Infrastructure Investments:
- Clean Water State Revolving Fund: The bill reauthorizes the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund (CWSRF) at elevated levels for the first time since 1987, bringing the program's cumulative commitment to $14.65 billion over five years. The legislation also codifies an existing requirement that states use 10% of their CWSRF to offer additional assistance to small and disadvantaged communities through principal repayment, grants, negative-interest loans, other loan forgiveness, and debt purchase, refinancing or restructuring.
- Drinking Water State Revolving Fund: The Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund (DWSRF), which is set to expire at the end of 2021, is also reauthorized, and receives equal funding for the first time with the CWSRF. This $14.65 billion investment will provide vital funding to states over the next five years to repair aging infrastructure, including lead pipes, and fix water quality problems so that more Americans have access to clean, safe water. The bill also increases the minimum amount states must set aside for extra subsidies to small and disadvantaged communities from 6% to 12%.
- Needs Assessment of Low-Income Households: The bill also includes a needs assessment that focuses on the high prevalence of low-income households that spend a large portion of their income on public drinking water services. It also requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct a study of previous funding allocations to low-income and rural communities in order to identify ways to improve the distribution of these funds.
Improving Access to Safe Drinking Water:
- Assistance for Small and Disadvantaged Communities Grants: This grant program will provide $760 million for small, rural, and disadvantaged communities over the next four years. The bill increases funding for the existing grant program and expands grant eligibility to the purchase of filters and filtration systems to address lead. It also creates an additional competitive grant program for states based on the prevalence of underserved communities within their borders.
- Lead Reduction: The bill authorizes $710 million to resolve the public health problem caused by lead pollution in drinking water. The bill allocates $100 million a year to the Lead Reduction Grant program and $200 million to the Voluntary Lead Testing in Schools program. It also expands the Small and Disadvantaged Community Grant Program to enable grant funds to be used for the purchase of filters and filtration systems; provides $10 million to establish a pilot program for municipalities to evaluate the effectiveness of lead mapping as a tool for identifying and replacing lead service lines; and $35 million per year to address public health emergencies caused by lead in drinking water.
- Connecting Households to Drinking Water and Wastewater Services: Additionally, the bill establishes new grant programs totaling $550 million annually to assist eligible households in connecting to existing drinking water or wastewater infrastructure or in installing or upgrading decentralized wastewater systems.
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