Clean Water Report
Copyright 2004 Gale Group. All rights reserved.
Monday, July 26, 2004
ISSN: 0009-8620; Volume 42; Issue 15
Congress to Upgrade
Sewer Systems to Avoid Overflows During Rainstorms
Wastewater treatment operators could get
additional funding for combined sewer systems and separate sewer systems if
Congress adopts legislation that would reauthorize grants for sewers. The House
Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee of the Transportation and
Infrastructure Committee heard testimony July 8 on H.R. 784, which would
reauthorize grants to fix overflow problems. The subcommittee also heard
testimony on H.R. 4470, a bill to reauthorize Lake Pontchartrain Basin
Restoration; H.R. 4688, a bill to reauthorize the Chesapeake Bay Program; and
H.R. 4731, a bill to reauthorize the National Estuary Program.
Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) introduced H.R. 784 to help communities deal with the
cost of repairing sewer infrastructure. Camp hopes to prevent pollution levels
that were in the waterways prior to the 1970s.
would be the first ounce of prevention well worth a pound of cure. By helping
communities repair leaking and broken sewer pipes, we can sharply reduce the
number of beach closures, ensure cleaner drinking water and prevent water
pollution in rivers, lakes and coastal waters," Camp told CWR.
Funding Gap Grows
Proponents of the legislation hope EPA will
fund the wet weather program and help defray costs of projects. A wastewater
funding gap remains a challenge for sewerage agencies, said Paul Pinault, past
president of Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies.
estimates that $50.68 billion is needed immediately to control sewer overflows
in 772 combined sewer communities, Pinault told CWR.
constitutes an important statement from Congress. H.R. 784 shows that Congress
understands the challenges the nation's public wastewater treatment facilities
Supporters of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Restoration,
the Chesapeake Bay Program and the National Estuary Program pointed to the
successes of each program. The National Estuary Program provides a front-line
response to the pressures on the coastal ecosystems, said Richard Ribb, vice
chairman for the Organizational Affairs Committee for the Association of
National Estuary Programs.
Lake Pontchartrain restoration must
have full funding of $100 million, said Rep. David Vitter (RLa.). Future funding
should be used to construct inflow and infiltration projects.
Pontchartrain Restoration Program addresses increased pollution problems in
growing areas, according to the Carlton Dufrechou, executive director of the
Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. The program also provides technical
assistance and should be funded.
Similar arguments were touted
for the Chesapeake Bay Program. The subcommittee voted July 15 to pass all these
bills and one to reauthorize beach cleanup of the Tijuana River Valley.