Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act
The “Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2019,” authorizes approximately $23.5 billion in direct infrastructure investment over the next five years to address America’s crumbling wastewater infrastructure and local water quality challenges.
This bipartisan bill renews the Federal commitment to addressing local water quality challenges by providing an infusion of Federal assistance for the construction, repair, and replacement of the Nation’s network of wastewater and stormwater conveyance and treatment facilities. The Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2019 significantly increases the amount of Federal assistance made available to States and communities through the successful Clean Water State Revolving Fund program—the primary source of Federal assistance for wastewater infrastructure construction.
The Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2019
H.R. 1497 renews the Federal commitment to addressing our Nation’s substantial needs for wastewater infrastructure by authorizing $20 billion over five years in wastewater infrastructure through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and other efforts to improve water quality.
H.R. 1497 will create thousands of new, domestic jobs in the construction and wastewater sectors through increased investment in wastewater infrastructure. It will reduce the cost of constructing and maintaining that infrastructure, promote energy efficiency and water efficiency, and reduce the potential long-term operation and maintenance costs of publicly owned treatment works.
In the 110th and 111th Congresses, the House of Representatives passed legislation similar to the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act by significant bipartisan majorities. In the 110th Congress, the House passed H.R. 720 by a recorded vote of 303-108. Similarly, in the 111th Congress, the House passed H.R. 1262 by a recorded vote of 317-101. Neither bill was considered by the Senate.
- Authorizes $20 billion in Federal grants over five years to capitalize Clean Water SRFs. These funds provide low-interest loans and additional loan subsidizations (e.g., principal forgiveness and negative interest loans) to communities for wastewater infrastructure.
- Authorizes an additional $900 million for grants to municipalities to capture, treat, or reuse combined and sanitary sewer overflows or stormwater.
- Authorizes $1.5 billion over five years for grants for State water pollution control agencies to implement State water pollution control programs.
- Provides $600 million over five years for Clean Water pilot programs (including Federal technical assistance and/or grants) for watershed-based or system-wide efforts to address wet weather discharges, to promote stormwater best management practices, to undertake integrated water resource management, and to increase the resiliency of treatment works to natural or man-made disasters.
- Authorizes $375 million in grants over five years for alternative water source projects under section 220 of the Clean Water Act, including projects that reuse wastewater or stormwater to augment the existing sources of water.
Background: The Clean Water State Revolving Fund
Before adoption of the Clean Water Act, many rivers were little more than open sewers, with some so polluted that they literally caught fire. Also, because rivers and pollution do not respect local or state boundaries, Congress realized that a comprehensive national program was necessary to protect water quality. In 1972, Congress enacted the landmark Clean Water Act which fundamentally changed the way we address water pollution in this country, set strong standards, and provided substantial financial assistance to local communities to meet the water quality challenges.
For close to 80 years, Congress has provided Federal funds to municipalities to address local water quality challenges, including sewage treatment and stormwater needs. Initially, this assistance was provided as direct grants to municipalities (covering 50 to 75 percent of the total costs of the projects). However, in 1987, Congress converted the direct grant program to a Clean Water State Revolving Fund (“Clean Water SRF”) authority that provides funding directly to States, which in-turn, provide below-market rate loans to communities to finance local wastewater infrastructure needs (typically required to be fully-repaid over 30 years).
Supporters of the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2019
- Alliance for the Great Lakes
- American Concrete Pavement Ass’n
- American Concrete Pipe Association
- American Concrete Pressure Pipe Association
- American Concrete Pumping Ass’n
- American Council of Engineering Companies
- American Iron and Steel Institute
- American Public Works Association
- American Road & Transportation Builders Association
- American Society of Civil Engineers
- American Supply Association
- American Sustainable Business Council
- Associated Equipment Distributors
- Associated General Contractors of America
- Bipartisan Policy Center
- BlueGreen Alliance
- California Association of Sanitation Agencies
- Cahaba River Society
- City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management
- Clean Water Action
- Clean Water Council
- Chesapeake Bay Foundation
- Clean Water Construction Coalition
- Concrete Foundations Association
- Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute
- Council of Infrastructure Finance Authorities
- Ducks Unlimited
- Ductile Iron Pipe Research Ass’n
- Environment America
- Environmental Law & Policy Center
- Freshwater Future
- Grasslands Water District
- Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District
- Healing our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition
- Hydraulic Institute
- Illinois Council of Trout Unlimited
- International Union of Operating Engineers
- Laborers International Union of North America
- League of Conservation Voters
- Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District
- Missouri Coalition for the Environment
- Municipal Castings Association
- National Association of Clean Water Agencies
- National Association of Counties
- National Association of Sewer Service Companies
- National Concrete Masonry Ass’n
- National Electrical Contractors Ass’n
- National Heritage Institute
- National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association
- National League of Cities
- National Precast Concrete Association
- National Ready Mixed Concrete Ass’n
- National Rural Water Association
- National Utility Contractors Ass’n
- National Water Resources Association
- National Wildlife Federation
- Natural Resources Defense Council
- North American Concrete Alliance
- Pennsylvania Council of Churches
- Plastics Pipe Institute
- Portland Cement Association
- Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute
- Prairie Rivers Network
- River Network
- Rural Community Assistance Partnership, Inc.
- Sierra Club
- Southern Environmental Law Center
- Tennessee Clean Water Network
- Tilt-Up Concrete Association
- U.S. Conference of Mayors
- U.S. Water Alliance
- United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters
- Vinyl Institute
- Water & Sewer Distributors of America
- Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association
- Water Environment Federation
- Water Infrastructure Network
- WaterReuse Association
- Western Recycled Water Coalition