Members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife heard testimony from a public clean water utility member of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) during the Committee’s hearing, “Implementation of the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act: Stakeholders’ needs and experiences”. Among those called to testify was a member of the NACWA Board of Directors – Josh Schimmel, Executive Director, Springfield Water and Sewer Commission, Agawam, Massachusetts.
The Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act (DWWIA), which was ultimately included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), allowed Congress to advance updates and reauthorizations to programs impacting drinking water and wastewater infrastructure – such as the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Loan Funds and Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program.
“Every day, our country relies on the largely unseen workforce of utility professionals to manage our complex water infrastructure network and provide us seamless clean water service.” Schimmel testified, “Americans today seldom think about the infrastructure systems that bring water to homes, and safely return water to the environment – but everyone should.”
The hearing examined EPA’s implementation of DWWIA, and by extension, the BIL, through the eyes of key stakeholders. The tools provided through this legislation will help local governments and utilities meet infrastructure challenges while also keeping customer rates manageable. Public clean water utilities will be vital to successful implementation of this historic investment and urge that it form the foundation for a strong federal water investment partnership moving forward.