Wednesday, 08 December 2021

Garamendi introduces bill to support California water infrastructure projects

WASHINGTON, DC – On Thursday, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) introduced bipartisan legislation (H.R.1764) to support local water infrastructure projects. Congressmen Ken Calvert (R-CA) and Rob Woodall (R-GA) are cosponsors.

Congressman Garamendi’s legislation, H.R.1764 would extend the maximum term for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, or NPDES, permits issued under the federal Clean Water Act from 5 to 10 years, to better reflect the construction schedules for public agencies.

“Every American deserves clean water. Our bill upholds Clean Water Act protections and ensures federal permitting requirements accurately reflect the time it takes to construct a public water project,” said Congressman Garamendi. “This bill supports upgrades on aging water treatment plants to ensure projects are built on time and on budget. I will do everything in my power to pass this critical legislation for California and the nation.”

“The Association of California Water Agencies commends Rep. Garamendi for his leadership in introducing this vital Clean Water Act permitting legislation. The bill brings certainty to ratepayers and long-term efficiency to water suppliers. ACWA is pleased to support this legislation,” said Dave Eggerton, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies.

“We thank Congressman Garamendi for introducing this important legislation to modernize the Clean Water Act. H.R.1764 implements a commonsense approach to permitting, and will allow public clean water agencies to focus on the business of protecting public health and the environment through efficient long-term planning. We appreciate that this bill acknowledges the complexity of today’s clean water infrastructure realities, and we look forward to working with the Congressman on this issue going forward,” said Roberta Larson, executive director of the California Association of Sanitation Agencies.

Current federal law only provides for five-year NPDES permits terms, which do not reflect construction schedules for public water and wastewater treatment projects.

The American Society of Civil Engineers rates our nation’s wastewater infrastructure at D+ grade, requiring $271 billion in public investment over the next 25 years. According to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, 95 percent of spending on water infrastructure is made at the local level.

H.R.1764 is endorsed by the: National Association of Clean Water Agencies, National Association of Counties, United States Conference of Mayors, National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, National Water Resources Association, Association of California Water Agencies, California Association of Sanitation Agencies, WateReuse Association, and Water Environment Federation.

The full text of H.R.1764 can be viewed here.

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