AMSA Calls on Congress for a Long-Term, Sustainable Solution

Clean Water Advocacy - News Releases - January 31, 2003

For Immediate Release: January 16, 2003
Contact: Adam Krantz, 202/833-4651, AMSA

Facing a Massive Water Infrastructure Funding Shortfall
AMSA Calls on Congress for a Long-Term, Sustainable Solution

The Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies (AMSA) participated today in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) multi-stakeholder meeting, titled Closing the Gap: Innovative Responses for Sustainable Water Infrastructure. The meeting was announced last year during EPA’s release of its report, The Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Gap Analysis, documenting a startling water and wastewater infrastructure funding gap of as much as $500 billion. Due in large part to the efforts of AMSA and the Water Infrastructure Network (WIN), there is a general acknowledgment that the United States faces a massive funding shortfall for the nation’s clean and safe water infrastructure, and discussion is now shifting to developing solutions to meet this challenge. AMSA believes that the only viable solution is a federally-backed, long-term, sustainable funding source.

Paul Pinault, AMSA’s President and Executive Director of the Narragansett Bay Commission in Providence, R.I., participated as a panelist at the morning session of today’s EPA meeting. As Paul Pinault states, “Municipalities are committed to being as competitive as possible; asset management has become more routine and effective; and rates have been increasing to deal with an aging infrastructure and ever-increasing federal regulatory requirements. AMSA’s upcoming 2003 Financial Survey of publicly owned treatment works nationwide supports these facts. The bottom line is that the federal government can no longer turn its back on clean and safe water. To overcome the infrastructure funding shortfall, we need a federally-backed, long-term, sustainable funding solution.” Billy G. Turner, an AMSA Board Member and President of the Columbus Water Works, Ga., also participated in the EPA meeting and echoed these municipal concerns.

WIN — a coalition of over 40 organizations representing drinking water and wastewater agencies, local elected officials, labor, environmentalists, engineers and industry — jumpstarted the national discussion on the existence of, and methods to address, the massive water and wastewater funding shortfall and its daunting environmental, public health and economic ramifications. As local budgets continue to shrink, municipalities face soaring costs associated with expensive federal regulations, such as wet weather requirements, as well as heightened security costs. Municipalities cannot cover this massive infrastructure bill alone.

EPA, the General Accounting Office, and the Congressional Budget Office have all weighed in with massive numbers that demonstrate the enormous wastewater and water infrastructure funding need. To meet this need, AMSA calls on Congress and the President to act swiftly on this vital, bipartisan issue and pass legislation to finance a long-term, sustainable, and reliable source of funding for clean water, focusing on critical “core” infrastructure needs.

AMSA is a national trade association representing more than 280 publicly owned treatment works across the country. As environmental practitioners, AMSA’s members treat more than 18 billion gallons of wastewater each day and service the majority of the U.S. population.

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