Press Releases

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.), both senior members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), have joined together during National Infrastructure Week to introduce bipartisan legislation to bring affordable relief to America’s crumbling water infrastructure systems. The bill, S. 1137 – Clean, Safe, Reliable Water Infrastructure Act, would amend the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to expand the availability of resources for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects.

“Our infrastructure needs can’t be a partisan issue, as clean water is key to quality of life and economic development in communities across Arkansas and the nation. That’s why Senator Cardin and I have teamed up once again to address the growing needs of our communities in a bipartisan manner. Improving our nation’s wastewater systems and ensuring Americans have access to clean water is something we can all get behind, especially when it is accomplished in a manner that promotes openness, competition and efficiency,” Boozman said.

“We cannot afford to ignore our vital drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. Year after year, Senator Boozman and I work together to combat the growing need for repairs to America’s aging drinking water and wastewater systems. We recognize the public health risk and economic jeopardy from a growing population placing greater demands on a water infrastructure system that is nearing the end of its useful life,” Cardin said. “Americans have a right to expect that water coming from their taps is safe to drink and that Congress will do everything within its power to ensure that happens. We also want to make sure that we are getting more bang for the buck, and that means using water more efficiently. It’s why our bill authorizes support for the WaterSense partnership that encourages voluntary reduction of water consumption by consumers and businesses, delivering more than $33 billion to consumers in water and energy bill savings.”

The U.S. Conference of Mayors found, on average, municipalities spend between 6 to 7 cents of every tax dollar on water and sewer systems. This makes water infrastructure the third-largest expense for cities, after education and emergency personnel. S. 1137, the Clean, Safe, Reliable Water Infrastructure Act, works to make this expense more manageable for localities by promoting open competition for contracts for water infrastructure projects, and by committing federal resources to address combined sewer overflows, sanitary sewer overflows, and stormwater discharges and their associated health and ecological risks. Unfortunately, sometimes the water bodies receiving this pollution are the source of our drinking water, and other times the untreated sewage backs up into people’s homes. This legislation helps tackle costs that come with making changes to water and sewer systems that have served millions of people for more than a century, but have become outdated and a threat to public health and the environment.