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Public Statements

District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority Independence Preservation Act

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. DAVIS of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, I now yield myself such time as I might consume.

As a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, I'd like to present for consideration H.R. 5778, the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority Independence Preservation Act, which clarifies the original intent of previously enacted legislation establishing an independent water and wastewater utility agency for the national capital region.

H.R. 5778 was originally introduced by Representatives CHRIS VAN HOLLEN and TOM DAVIS April 10, 2008, and was discharged from the Oversight Committee on June 6, 2008. As chair of the House Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia, I convened a hearing to discuss the merits of this legislation before us on April 15, 2008, where we learned that the bill had the support of the various regional localities that are served by the authority.

The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority, also known as D.C. WASA, was created in 1996 through congressional and local government action which was intended to establish an independent regional utility agency that would be responsible for providing drinking water and wastewater treatment services to the District of Columbia and wholesale wastewater treatment services to certain Maryland and Virginia suburban jurisdictions.

Before the enactment of a series of WASA-related statutes, the agency experienced a grave financial and serious operational difficulties. However, I am happy to report that ever since the agency was restructured back in the late 1990s, WASA has made significant progress in carrying out its statutory mandate of providing retail drinking water distribution, wastewater collection, and wastewater treatment services to over 2 million Washington metropolitan regional customers, of which the Federal Government is included.

H.R. 5778 clarifies the original intent of the applicable statutes concerning WASA's Board's responsibilities, including the financial management, personnel, procurement, and all other operations of the authority. A recent amendment to the bill will help to ensure that the residents and employees of the applicable jurisdictions are eligible for employment with WASA under the same terms and conditions.

And so, Mr. Speaker, as a regional partner, it is important that we continue to show our commitment to strengthening and assisting WASA in its efforts to upgrade and improve the agency's operations, equipment, and long-term functionality. H.R. 5778 is an important step in that direction. Therefore, I urge its adoption.

I reserve the balance of my time.


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