Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL) voted for three critical water quality bills this week that authorize billions of dollars to protect American families and help cities and states construct and improve wastewater infrastructure.
On the Water Quality Investment Act: "Many communities in my district, such as the city of Monmouth, have severe capacity issues with their wastewater treatment systems. Several of these communities are rural but are experiencing new growth and cannot afford to expand their wastewater systems or update their antiquated and deteriorating facilities. The overflow of sewer systems can cause untreated waste to run into streets, basements, rivers and lakes, posing obvious health, safety and environmental problems. It is imperative that we help localities improve their sewer infrastructure for the health and safety of their residents and to meet their obligations under the Clean Water Act."
On the Water Quality Financing Act: "When I met with local Economic Development Administration officials in Moline over the February recess, reauthorizing and ensuring adequate funding for the State Revolving Loan Fund was stated as the number one need these administrators had in assisting the rural communities of my district. We all know that the ability to process and treat wastewater as well as provide clean water to a community is the biggest challenge to economic development. In my district, which has been hit hard by the outsourcing of jobs, this assistance is critical."
On Davis-Bacon Protections: "The Water Quality Financing Act rightly renews the requirement that contractors and subcontractors on wastewater treatment projects constructed with assistance from the state revolving funds be paid at least the prevailing local wage rate, as determined under the Davis-Bacon Act. By guaranteeing payment of the prevailing local wage rate, Davis-Bacon provides a better standard of living and economic security for these workers, particularly in rural communities and small towns."
The House of Representatives passed the following clean water bills this week:
H.R. 569, The Water Quality Investment Act. There is an increasing problem in many local communities across the country that, after heavy rainfall, sewer systems can overflow - in some cases due to aging sewer systems. This bill is a second bill to improve water quality - by authorizing $1.8 billion in grants to local communities over the next five years to construct treatment works to deal with sewer overflows. This bill is crucial because sewer overflows represent a major public health hazard. It will aid cities and states that find building or improving sewer infrastructure financially impossible without help from the federal government.
H.R. 700, the Healthy Communities Water Supply Act. This bill is a third bill to improve water quality. It authorizes $125 million for pilot projects to increase an area's usable water supply - by encouraging innovation in water reclamation, reuse and conservation. The bill will provide funding for new technologies, including ideas like aquifer storage and retrieval and membrane filtering technologies that have the potential to greatly increase our ability to use water more effectively and efficiently. The bill will enhance usable water supplies in such areas as California and parts of the Southwest that have long faced chronic water supply shortages amid continuing population booms.
H.R. 720, The Water Quality Financing Act. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund is a vital program for state and local governments that addresses critical water infrastructure needs. Unfortunately, the Republican-led Congress slashed funding for the Clean Water Revolving Fund by 34 percent over the last few years. Now, President Bush is proposing slashing it again. By contrast, the Clean Water Revolving Fund is a top priority of the Democratic-led 110th Congress, and this bill authorizes a total of $14 billion for the fund over the next four years. The Clean Water Fund is critical because it ensures clean water and fosters economic development in local communities by helping pay for building and improving wastewater treatment facilities.