Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono today voted in favor of reinvesting in improved water quality projects and ensuring safe, clean water for all Americans. The Water Quality Investment Act of 2009, H.R. 1262, reauthorizes $13.8 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund over the next five years. If signed into law, Hawaii will see a four-fold increase in the annual level of federal funding from $5.3 million in FY2009 to an estimated $21 million each year from FY2010 to FY2014. This level of funding could create or sustain some 700 jobs a year in Hawaii. H.R. 1262 passed out of the U.S. House by a vote of 317 to 101.
"This funding is critically needed in our state. Just this week, I met with members of the four county councils in my district. All have concerns about the condition of wastewater infrastructure in their districts and the inability of local governments to fund the level of investment that is urgently needed," said Hirono. "Lack of this funding is having serious environmental consequences and, in some areas, is actually preventing development of much-needed housing."
The Clean Water State Revolving Fund is vital as it provides low-interest loans to local communities for construction of wastewater treatment facilities and other water pollution abatement projects. Since being established in 1987, the Clean Water State Revolving Fund has been the primary source of federal funding for wastewater infrastructure projects. In addition to providing funding, the Water Quality Investment Act of 2009 also establishes greater safeguards including requiring sewage operators who accept federal funds to notify the public when a sewage spill poses a danger to public health.
The bill now goes before the U.S. Senate for consideration.