Wastewater Bill Looks at Affordability

HR 3862, the Clean Water Affordability Act, would offer some financial relief to municipalities and regional sewer authorities that experience significant hardships to finance wastewater infrastructure projects.  Introduced on January 14th by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), the measure calls for several changes to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act:

  • EPA shall update guidance that assesses financial capacity to:  provide greater emphasis on local economic conditions; consider economic conditions and demographic groups within political jurisdictions for regional systems; do not use “prescriptive formulas” as the only useful indicator of financial capability; consider site-specific local conditions and use measures such as median household income within the context of other economic measures rather than as a threshold; and consider the larger economic outlook of a community and other essential community investments related to water quality improvements.
  • State capitalization agreements would be revised to require that 15 percent of each cap grant would be dedicated for assistance to municipalities of less than 10,000 that meet affordability criteria for activities on the state’s priority list.
  • The Clean Water SRF would be amended to extend repayment terms from 20 to 30 years and allow additional subsidization (beyond what is outlined above).

The measure has been referred to the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.