Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), joined Rick Duncan, Executive Director of the Delaware Rural Water Association, and David Baird, National Rural Water Association President, along with representatives from water suppliers throughout Delaware to highlight the support for the bipartisan Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021 (DWWIA 2021, S. 914). This legislation, the first infrastructure bill advanced by a Senate Committee this Congress, will strengthen drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, foster economic growth, enhance the health and well-being of families across the nation, and address environmental justice.
“From Blades to the City of Wilmington, every Delawarean—and every American—regardless of zip code, deserves clean drinking water,” said Senator Carper. “This forward-thinking legislation will make investments into our nation’s much-needed water infrastructure projects so that our communities have reliable, clean water and the means to pay for it.”
The bill makes significant investments in Environmental Protection Agency grant programs and revolving loan funds that support our nation’s water infrastructure. This bill will authorize the investment of more than $35 billion in water infrastructure projects across the country that focus on upgrading our aging infrastructure, addressing the threat of climate change, investing in new technologies, and providing assistance for marginalized communities.
“Funding for water and wastewater system infrastructure is extremely important, especially for the small systems that have limited revenues and resources,” said Rick Duncan, Executive Director of the Delaware Rural Water Association. “This bill also continues funding for the National Rural Water programs which are so vital here in Delaware. Water facilities depend on our field technicians’ expertise each and every day, providing the on-site, hands-on technical assistance so that water systems can continue to maintain compliance. We cannot thank Congress – especially Senator Carper – enough for coming to Delaware Rural Water Association and hearing our message.”
“The National Rural Water Association appreciates the efforts of Senator Carper and all of the members of the Environment and Public Works committee in advancing this bipartisan legislation that is essential to the continued success of Rural America,” said David Baird, president of the National Rural Water Association. “This investment in our nation’s water and wastewater utilities will enhance public health benefits, promote environmental stewardship and serve as a catalyst for economic development opportunities in communities across the United States.”
The bill includes nearly $30 billion in funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund (CWSRF) and the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund (DWSRF) and an additional $6 billion in grant funding.
· Prioritizes environmental justice through targeted grant programs and technical assistance for small, disadvantaged, rural, and tribal communities.
· Empowers states with increased funding and program flexibilities to invest in community water projects that address aging infrastructure and improve water quality.
· Increases investments in lead abatement through grant programs and technical assistance.
· Authorizes funding to connect households to public drinking water and wastewater services, install decentralized wastewater systems, and improve sanitation in Alaskan rural and Native Villages.
· Supports climate-resilient water projects to address the worsening impacts of climate change on drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.
· Invests in the drinking water and wastewater needs of tribal communities.
· Fosters the development and deployment of emerging technologies that result in cleaner, safer, and more reliable water.