New bill aims to increase Drinking Water SRF


Legislation introduced in the House of Representatives in March would offer more generous terms for loans issued through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) while also giving EPA greater flexibility to adjust drinking water regulations based on the latest scientific data.


Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio)

Sponsored by Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio), the Drinking Water Affordability Act (H.R. 1653) would make several changes to the Safe Drinking Water Act and the DWSRF, such as:

  • Allowing EPA to revise federal drinking water standards to be less stringent when scientific data demonstrates that certain levels of regulated contaminants do not present a threat to public health;
  • Extending liability protections to public water systems that take over management functions of another water system. Current law only provides such protections following the consolidation of multiple water systems through a “transfer of ownership.”
  • Allowing states the option to provide disadvantaged communities up to 35 percent (compared to the current level of 30 percent) in loan subsidies from the state’s annual share of DWSRF funding;
  • Providing states the option to extend the amortization period on DWSRF loans to 30 years (currently 20 years) and to 40 years for loans issued to disadvantaged communities; and
  • Requiring EPA to waive federal cross-cutting requirements, in order to avoid unnecessary duplication, when determining that a state’s requirements are as stringent as those required by federal law.

“[The] bill better protects ratepayers in Ohio and across the county from increasing costs while supporting the needed efforts to provide safer drinking water for local communities,” Latta said in a statement.

House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders have not announced plans for the bill, but portions of the proposal could make their way into a broader DWSRF reauthorization effort that committee Republicans have expressed interest in pursuing.

This news was first released in the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies’ weekly Monday Morning Briefing.

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