U.S. Senate Passes $35 Billion Water Infrastructure Bill

The United States Senate on April 29 overwhelmingly passed a clean water infrastructure bill that would provide $35 billion to upgrade water systems nationwide.

The Senate voted 89 to 2 on the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act (S.914) aimed at repairing drinking and wastewater systems across the states by reauthorizing several existing federal water infrastructure funding programs and creating new ones.

The bill would provide the Environmental Protection Agency funds for grant programs and revolving loan funds to help small and disadvantaged communities in upgrading aging water infrastructure systems and in investing in new technology.

The bill also allocates funds for Native American reservations and improves programs on replacing lead pipes and reducing lead contamination in drinking water.

The bill would also create a program to make water more affordable and would establish systems that would improve sharing of data on water quality, water infrastructure needs, and water technology.

The bill also amends the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.

“Access to clean water is a human right, and every American deserves access to clean water, no matter their zip code, the color of their skin, or the size of their income,” Senator Tammy Duckworth, who introduced the bill, told the Senate floor.

President Wendy Wendlandt of Environment America, a federation of state-based environmental groups, issued a statement applauding the passing of the bill.

“This legislation makes critically important investments in our outdated and failing water infrastructure. Our country may be divided, but this bill is a testament that we can make progress by starting where there is common ground,” Wendlandt stated.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for a vote before it can head to President Joe Biden for his signature.

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