AWWA Testifies on Potential Improvements to Safe Drinking Water Act

In a U.S. House subcommittee hearing today, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) testified that updates to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) are overdue and necessary to assist communities with water infrastructure and compliance challenges.

Speaking before the U.S. House Subcommittee on the Environment during Infrastructure Week, Water Utility Council Chair Kurt Vause presented AWWA’s suggestions related to funding, utility management and regulatory compliance.

“An updating of the 1996 Amendments to the SDWA is overdue,” said Vause, special projects director at Anchorage Water & Wastewater Utility in Anchorage, Alaska. “Our 2012 report, ‘Buried No Longer: Confronting America’s Water Infrastructure Challenge’ pointed out that this nation must spend $1 trillion on drinking water infrastructure in the next 25 years to maintain our current levels of service.”

Vause, speaking on behalf of AWWA’s 50,000 members, spoke on the need to improve the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) to make it easier to use to help finance projects of consolidation for efficiency of operations and regulatory compliance. He also encouraged improved tracking of SRF capitalization grants to help that program become more efficient and flexibility in repayment of SRF loans to assist particularly distressed communities.

“To some communities, the terms of repayment will necessarily lead to a limited use of SRF financing of critical infrastructure needs,” Vause said.

Vause also encouraged Congress to provide fully authorized appropriations of $45 million for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) in FY2018. WIFIA is a promising new tool in repairing and replacing the nation’s aging water and wastewater infrastructure.

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