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Bill to Provide Federal Funding for Sewer Overflows Introduced in House

March 18, 2021

(March 18, 2021) – On March 8th, Reps. Lori Trahan (D-MA) and Darin LaHood (R-IL) reintroduced their bipartisan Stop Sewage Overflow Act on March 8 to increase the federal government’s contribution to preventing sewer overflows.

In introducing the bill, Rep. Trahan stated: “Combined sewage overflows continue to plague communities along the Merrimack River, and the federal government’s wilting support for efforts to prevent future polluting overflows has only made matters worse. The Stop Sewage Overflow Act will finally put an end to decades of Washington’s determination to pass the buck for wastewater system upgrades onto state and local governments already reeling from federal infrastructure divestments.” 

Specifically, the legislation looks to support the Clean Water Act Sec. 221 Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grants program, an EPA grant program that first received funding in Fiscal Year 2020 – several decades after it the grant program was authorized and clean water utilities began investing billions in sewer overflow reduction and CSO long term control plans. NACWA worked closely with Congress to secure this grant program’s authorization in 2018 and has advocated for strong funding since.

The program has received a total of just $68M in its first two years, but as this legislation shows, significant increases are being considered as Congress negotiates infrastructure investment this year. The Stop Sewage Overflow Act proposes to increase authorized funding for the grant program to $500M per Fiscal Year and reduce the cost-share burden for economically disadvantaged areas.

Expansion of the Sec. 221 grant program is also included in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Clean Water package introduced this week. That package calls for authorized funding at $400M per Fiscal Year.

Please contact NACWA’s Managing Director of Government Affairs, Kristina Surfus, for more information.

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