U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) today applauded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) announcement that New Jersey will receive $78 million in federal funding to help finance improvements to the State's water system including upgrades to sewage plants and drinking water systems.
"To protect the health and safety of New Jersey residents, our state's water infrastructure needs to be modernized. This federal funding from the EPA will allow the state to repair and upgrade the aging drinking water and sewer systems throughout New Jersey. The Obama Administration is making critical investments in infrastructure that will create good jobs today and ensure a healthy future for New Jersey families," said Lautenberg, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee, which funds EPA.
"I applaud the EPA's critical investment that will put New Jerseyans to work making much needed repairs and maintenance to our aging water systems. This will not only help ensure that our families have access to clean drinking water, but it will help keep America competitive," said Menendez. "We have under-invested in our infrastructure for far too long and it will only get worse and more expensive to fix as the years roll by. This critical funding from the EPA will go a long way towards making updates and upgrades to water systems, that in some communities, are close to a hundred years old."
Senators Lautenberg and Menendez have long been fighting to secure funding to improve New Jersey's water systems. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Lautenberg has called for additional funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, which are the sources of today's funding announcement. In addition to securing funding to repair our aging water infrastructure, Senator Lautenberg is the author of the Sewage Overflow Community Right-to-Know Act, which would require sewer systems to report any sewer overflows as they occur to protect local communities.
Senator Menendez authored the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Investment Act of 2011, bipartisan legislation that would create private sector jobs rebuilding our nation's crumbling water infrastructure by removing issuances of private activity bonds for water and wastewater projects from annual volume caps. This is a bipartisan and bicameral concept, a private sector solution creating thousands of jobs to address the pressing problem of crumbling water infrastructure for communities across America.
In the announcement made today, the EPA has indicated New Jersey will receive the following:
· $57,755,000 from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund program to make improvements to wastewater treatment systems, control pollution from rain water runoff, and protect sensitive water bodies and estuaries.
· $20,174,000 from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Program to finance improvements to drinking water systems, with a particular focus on providing funds to small and disadvantaged communities and to programs that encourage pollution prevention as a tool for ensuring safe drinking water.
For more information on the Clean Water State Revolving Fund program, visit: http://water.epa.gov/grants_funding/cwsrf/cwsrf_index.cfm
For information on the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program visit: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/dwsrf/