Member Pipeline - Legislative - Alert (LA 01-03)

To: Members & Affiliates
From: National Office
Date: April 20, 2001
Reference: LA01-03

Action Please By:
As Soon As Possible

A few weeks ago, hearings on water infrastructure needs were conducted in the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Water, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources, and the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials. While some Members of Congress are familiar with the infrastructure needs and resulting financial pressures on publicly-owned wastewater treatment plants (POTW), many Senators and Representatives are far less knowledgeable about the needs of their local utilities. Although the infrastructure needs of America's communities have been assessed and reported on a national basis by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Water Infrastructure Network (WIN), AMSA, and other groups, Members of Congress best understand and are more responsive to the needs of their hometown constituents.

In an effort to assess and report on individual POTW needs, AMSA is asking each member agency to document and share with Members of Congress the challenges they are facing in the repair and rehabilitation of their infrastructure. In testimony before the House Water Resources Subcommittee, Pat Karney, Director of the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati, explained the regulatory and financial pressures on Cincinnati's utility rates and the need for federal grants and loans to ease the financial burdens on ratepayers. Similar case studies from AMSA members, sent to individual Congressional delegations, would help educate lawmakers on the importance of the issue and advance the cause of both AMSA and WIN. Your POTW case study should briefly include:

  • age of wastewater treatment system, replacement schedule, and cost;
  • miles of wastewater collection system, replacement schedule, and cost;
  • future needs due to economic development and population growth or expansion;
  • investment needed to comply with new regulations on sanitary sewer and combined sewer overflows;
  • anticipated cost to comply with other regulatory requirements, such as nutrient removal, storm water, and total maximum daily loads; and
  • economic pressures on your service area such as vulnerability to economic downturns, per capita income, and affordability of current and proposed rate increases.

We have developed a sample letter (see attached) for you to use to convey your case study to your Congressional delegation, as well as several "Helpful Hints" in formatting the letter and reaching Congress. If you have access to the Internet, you can download a copy of the sample letter, as well as obtain detailed contact information for your delegation from Congressional Connection which is located on the AMSA website.

Please make every effort to prepare and send your letter as soon as possible. It is extremely important that as many AMSA Members as possible document their local infrastructure needs and communicate this information to their Senators and Representatives. Please send us a copy of your letter by email ( or by fax (202/833-4657). If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact AMSA's Lee Garrigan at 202/833-4655.

Thank you for your support and assistance on gathering and reporting your local infrastructure needs to Congress.