Friday, March 09, 2007

House Passes Clean Water Bill

Good news for Grand Rapids and the Grand River.

The House of Representatives Wednesday approved the Water Quality Investment Act of 2007 (H.R. 569) with a vote of 367 to 58, authorizing a $1.5 billion program for cities to repair and upgrade aging and outdated sewage systems that often overflow during wet weather. The money goes to the EPA for sewer overflow control grants to states and municipalities. Combined sewer systems, which carry both stormwater and sanitary flows, and separate sanitary sewer systems can overflow with untreated waste during heavy rainfall or snow melts.

Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Congressman Jim Oberstar, a Minnesota Democrat who sponsored the bill, says cities and towns across the nation are faced with making massive repairs to infrastructure that is often more than 100 years old. "Duluth is a prime example of a city that would benefit from this legislation," said Oberstar. "They have a sewer system that is more than a century old. It gets flooded every time there is a heavy rain and raw sewage to flow into Lake Superior."

"Combined sewer overflows and sanitary sewer overflows create a huge pollution problem in America. This bill will help provide cleaner water in our communities, and will require EPA to distribute grant money to those communities most in need of assistance," said Congressman John Mica, of Florida, Republican leader on the Committee.

Today, the House of Representatives considered a companion clean water bill from the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The Water Quality Financing Act of 2007 (H.R. 720) will provide $14 billion in federal loan guarantees to help cities and towns finance water and sewer improvements. The measure would reauthorize the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to provide low interest loans to government entities for clean water and nonpoint source pollution control projects.

Today is the 35th anniversary of the passage of the Clean Water Act.

Source: ENS Newswire


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