On Feb. 13, the House and Senate approved HR 1–the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which will most certainly have an immediate and positive impact on this industry. The $787 billion package of tax cuts and government spending includes approximately $150 billion in emergency funding for public works infrastructure with more than $7 billion earmarked for drinking water and wastewater projects.
It contains $4 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (wastewater), $2 billion for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and $1.38 billion for the USDA rural water and waste disposal system. President Barack Obama signed the legislation on Feb. 17, giving the EPA 30 days from that time to disperse funds to the states.
The states will then have up to one year to put the money to use with shovel-ready projects.
What does this mean to P&S readers? “This is a great boost to clean water and drinking water programs all over the United States,” says Tim Williams, managing director for government affairs for the Water Environment Federation (WEF). “It will have significant beneficial and economic impacts on municipal spending and the individuals who depend on it, including consultants, contractors and equipment manufacturers.”
To be considered for funding, any appropriate projects need to be on the state's priority list by contacting your State Water Agency, Williams says.
The positive impact will be felt industrywide, says Dawn Kristof Champney, president of the Water & Wastewater Equipment
Manufacturers Association, Inc. (WWEMA). “Congress has recognized the critical role that drinking water and wastewater facilities play in supporting our nation's economic engine and in protecting the environment by providing $6 billion in additional capitalization for the state revolving fund programs to help communities meet their infrastructure needs.”