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Funding For Clean Water Act Program Renewed
May 1, 2007

The American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) recently called on the House of Representatives to pass the Water Quality Financing Act of 2007 (H.R. 720). The legislation would provide $14 billion for the Clean Water Act State Revolving Loan Fund (CWSRF) program over four years, beginning with $2 billion in fiscal year 2008. The money would be used to recapitalize the CWSRF, which has suffered from declining federal investments in recent years.

“Clean drinking and wastewater systems are some of the greatest advances in improving public health,” said ASCE President William F. Marcuson, Ph.D., P.E., Hon.M.ASCE. “As a result, protecting America’s drinking and wastewater systems is vital to the health, safety and welfare of the public, and we commend Chairman Oberstar for his leadership on this critical national issue.”

Passage of the Water Quality Financing Act is a critical part of the Action Plan ASCE developed for the 110th Congress.

Many drinking and wastewater systems have reached the end of their useful design lives. Older systems are commonly plagued by chronic overflows during major rain storms and heavy snowmelt, bringing about the discharge of raw sewage into surface waters in the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated in August 2004 that the volume of combined sewer overflows (CSOs) discharged nationwide is 850 billion gallons per year. Sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs), caused by blocked or broken pipes, result in the release of as much as 10 billion gallons of raw sewage yearly, according to the EPA. The SRF provides low-interest loans and grants to state and local governments to rebuild wastewater treatment plants.

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