Senate committee approves water recycling investments

The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee last week passed legislation that will make significant investments in water recycling programs and resources. The two pieces of legislation — America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 and the Drinking Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 — include numerous provisions that will advance the adoption of water reuse across the country.

The legislation includes language to reauthorize the Pilot Program for Alternative Water Source Grants, through which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would provide competitive grants to communities to support water recycling projects. In addition, the legislation directs EPA to establish an Interagency Working Group on Water Reuse to coordinate federal activities across the federal government. The purpose of the new working group is to break down silos, leverage resources and expertise across agencies, and align activities to better support reuse.  The WateReuse Association was pivotal in advocating for these provisions in the draft bill and in the managers’ amendment during Committee markup.

“The WateReuse Association applauds Chairman Barrasso, Ranking Member Carper, and the members of the Committee for developing strong, bipartisan legislation to improve our nation’s water recycling infrastructure,” said Patricia Sinicropi, Executive Director of the WateReuse Association. “The bills passed by the Committee today provide tools and investments to help communities address complex and evolving challenges through the adoption of water reuse.”

In addition to reauthorizing the Alternative Water Source Grants Program and creating a new Interagency Working Group on Water Reuse, the two bills create and reauthorize numerous programs that together will invest hundreds of millions of dollars in water recycling across the country. These include a reauthorization and expansion of the Drinking Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Sustainability Program and the creation of a companion program for wastewater systems; reauthorization of and increased funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) Program; reauthorization of the Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Grant Program; and reauthorization of the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Program.

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