strongly supports legislation to reauthorize funding for the Clean
Water Act State Revolving Loan Fund (SRF). ASCE is working for the
enactment of House and Senate bills to provide new funding assistance
for publicly owned treatment works.
- The Water
Quality Financing Act (H.R. 720), introduced in the 110th Congress,
would authorize the appropriation of $14 billion over four years for
the construction and repair of America's aging wastewater treatment
plants. It passed the House in March 2007, but did not receive
consideration by the full Senate.
- S. 3500, the Water
Infrastructure Financing Act (S. 3500), introduced in the 110th
Congress, would authorize $20 billion for the SRF over five years.
EPA estimates that the nation must invest $390 billion over the next 20
years to replace existing systems and build new ones to meet increasing
- The physical condition of many of the
nation's 16,000 wastewater treatment systems is poor, due to a lack of
investment in plant, equipment and other capital improvements over the
- Aging wastewater management systems discharge billions of gallons of untreated sewage into U.S. surface waters each year.
assistance has not kept pace with the needs, yet virtually every
authority agrees that funding needs remain very high: the United States
must invest an additional $202.5 billion for all types of sewage
treatment projects eligible for funding under the Act, according to the
most recent needs survey estimate by the EPA and the states, completed
- Many systems have reached the end of their
useful design lives. Older systems are plagued by chronic overflows
during major rain storms and heavy snowmelt and, intentionally or not,
are bringing about the discharge of raw sewage into U.S. surface waters.
federal government has directly invested more than $80 billion in the
construction of publicly owned sewage treatment works (POTWs) and their
related facilities since passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972.
2002, the 2002 EPA Gap Analysis estimated that the United States must
spend between $331 billion and $450 billion by 2019 to upgrade and
maintain the nation's existing wastewater infrastructure systems and to
build new ones (the total includes money for some projects not
currently eligible for federal funds, such as system replacement, which
are not reflected in the EPA Clean Watersheds Needs Survey).
January 2008, EPA estimated in the 2004 Clean Watersheds Needs Survey
that the documented need for new Clean Water Act infrastructure is
$202.5 billion nationwide in capital investments over the next 20 years
to bring existing systems into compliance with federal clean water
- According to the Gap Analysis, if there
is no increase in investment, there will be a roughly $6 billion gap
between current annual capital expenditures for wastewater treatment
($13 billion annually) and projected spending needs. The study also
estimated that, if wastewater spending increases by only 3 percent per
year, the gap would shrink by nearly 90 percent (to about $1 billion
- If the nation fails to meet the
investment needs of the next 20 years, it risks reversing the public
health, environmental, and economic gains of the past three decades.
The case for increased federal investment is compelling. Needs are
large and unprecedented; in many locations, local sources cannot be
expected to meet this challenge alone and, because waters are shared
across local and state boundaries, the benefits of federal help will
accrue to the entire nation.
- Clean and safe water is
no less a national priority than are national defense, an adequate
system of interstate highways, and a safe and efficient aviation
system. Many other highly important infrastructure programs enjoy
sustainable, long-term sources of federal backing, often through the
use of dedicated trust funds; under current policy, water and
wastewater infrastructure do not.
- As a long-term
solution, ASCE supports the creation of a federal clean water
infrastructure trust fund to provide a stable, dedicated source of
revenue to the states and municipalities to assist in the repair and
improvement of America's sewage treatment systems.
For related information visit: