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House Committee Approves Drinking Water System Improvement Act, Reauthorizes Safe Drinking Water SRF

Friday, July 28, 2017   (0 Comments)
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Today, by a bipartisan voice vote, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce favorably reported to the House H.R.3387, the “Drinking Water System Improvement Act,” which, in part, reauthorizes the Safe Drinking Water SRF! The reauthorization measure substantially increases the Drinking Water SRF program. The bill authorizes $8 billion over a five-year period. Current funding for the Drinking Water program is approximately $950 million annually.

This is a major step forward for this critical program as it is the first House reauthorization bill in several years to enjoy bipartisan support. In addition, it has been almost two decades since the Drinking Water Program has been reauthorized. This win is also a victory for the Clean Water Construction Coalition, who through Sante Esposito and the tireless work of Coalition representative Key Advocates, was one of the most active stakeholders in advocating Energy and Commerce Committee action on this issue.

Today’s action will also have a ripple effect, potentially triggering action in both chambers. In the House, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will begin to develop and consider Clean Water SRF reauthorization, as the two SRFs have historically been joined in the House legislative process. Should the full House approve the bill, it will head to the Senate, where the Environment and Public Works Committee has jurisdiction over both revolving funds. After years of delay, the unified House bill will put some pressure on the upper chamber to work toward consensus in a timely manner.

H.R.3387 Highlights
The bill adds or amends several conditions on the use of DWSRF funding:

  • Allows the use of those funds for siting, associated pre-construction activities, and replacing or rehabilitating aging treatment, storage, or distribution facilities of public water systems
  • Extends the application of the American iron and steel requirements in section 1452(a)(4) to DWSRF funds for the life of the funding authorization in the bill
  • Requires public water systems serving more than 10,000 persons to certify to their State that they have considered the costs and effectiveness of the relevant processes, materials, techniques, and technologies used in the project or activity supported with DWSRF funds
  • Increases the amount of loan subsidies available for disadvantaged communities to 35 percent and extends the repayment schedule for DWSRF loans for disadvantaged communities from 30 years to 40 years
  • Prohibits the use of those funds for Clean Water Act compliance
  • Amends section 1452(k)(2) of the SDWA to allow States to use a portion of their DWSRF allocation to delineate, assess, and update their source water protection plans

Lastly, the bill amends section 1452(m) of the SDWA to reauthorize $8 billion in capitalization grants for FY 2018 through FY 2022. Specifically, it authorizes:

  • $1.2 billion in FY 2018
  • $1.4 billion in FY 2019
  • $1.6 billion in FY 2020
  • $1.8 billion in FY 2021
  • $2.0 billion in FY 2022

The Coalition will keep you updated as the bill progresses through Congress, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.

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