Clean Water Advocacy - News Releases - March 13, 2002
For Immediate Release: March 13, 2002
Contact: Alexandra Dunn, 202/533-1803, AMSA
AMSA Testifies on Houses Water Infrastructure Legislation
The Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies (AMSA) applauds the leadership of the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee on introducing the Water Quality Financing Act of 2002 (H.R. 3930) on behalf of this nation's core wastewater infrastructure. This legislation appropriately commemorates this year's 30th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act (CWA) by demonstrating that Congress is ready to renew its long-term commitment with states and municipalities to ensure our nation's clean water progress.
Pat Karney, Director of the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSD) and a member of the Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies (AMSA) will testify on behalf of AMSA. MSD's 650 environmental professionals serve 800,000 users in Hamilton County. AMSA represents more than 270 publicly-owned treatment works (POTWs) across the country which treat more than 18 billion gallons of wastewater every day and serve the majority of the U.S. sewered population.
Pat Karney's testimony discusses the vast wastewater infrastructure needs of local governments and hopes the legislation as introduced will solidify long-term federal support for this important concern. Karney states that "local government water quality needs are great for many reasons, including the tremendous infrastructure investments necessary to repair, replace and rehabilitate existing infrastructure and meet current needs associated with combined sewer (CSO) and sanitary sewer (SSO) overflow programs and requirements. MSD alone needs between $1 and $3 billion dollars for design and construction to reduce CSOs and SSOs. These figures exclude our regular operations and maintenance costs and the cost of planned infrastructure repairs and rehabilitation. Additionally, as I testified before you on October 10, 2001, we now must make significant investments to upgrade facility security."
AMSA supports the legislation's provision allowing state revolving fund (SRF) applicants to use the funds for security projects and applauds H.R. 3930's provisions providing $20 billion over the next five years towards the SRF. At the same time, AMSA believes the SRF process should be further streamlined and is concerned that the legislation would place some unnecessary hurdles to obtaining SRF funding. As discussed more fully in the testimony, these provisions include requiring utilities to develop asset management plans, explore public private partnerships and develop long-term rate structures all of which municipalities by and large are already doing and which will only serve to discourage utilities from applying for SRF funds.
AMSA also seeks to allow states greater flexibility to target grant funding to a wider array of infrastructure projects. As Pat Karney says, "We believe it is essential to ensure that states have the authority to define these affordability criteria broadly, with the result that municipalities with priority projects due to public health risks and environmental impairment as well as those meeting traditional affordability parameters are eligible for such funding."
AMSA looks forward to continuing its work with the T&I Committee and thanks them for taking this important step towards ensuring and building upon the environmental and public health gains made over the past 30 years since enactment of the Clean Water Act. AMSA's testimony is available at http://www.amsa-cleanwater.org/advocacy/testimony/3-13-02testimony.cfm.
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