On Monday, Jan. 14, President Donald J. Trump signed the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act into law.
The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) praises the President’s signing. They note that integrated planning will allow clean water agencies to do even more to protect public health and the environment by targeting limited ratepayer dollars to achieve CWA compliance as effectively as possible.
According to a NACWA release, the bill codifies the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Integrated Planning (IP) approach into law. This provides local communities with critical new flexibilities in meeting their Clean Water Act (CWA) obligations.
Advocacy efforts by NACWA, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties, the Water Environment Federation and other groups, have led to EPA’s recognition of the regulated community’s need for flexibility.
According to Water Finance & Management, the organizations developed its Integrated Municipal Stormwater and Wastewater Planning Approach Framework in 2012. Since then, these water sector partners have been working with Congress on bipartisan legislation to codify the IP framework into law.
“As public clean water utilities and the communities they serve continue to face increasing water quality and affordability challenges each day, codifying Integrated Planning helps communities better sequence and prioritize, in a holistic fashion, how they comply with their clean water permit obligations,” said Adam Krantz, NACWA’s Chief Executive Officer. “Enactment of this legislation is a major win for clean water utilities large and small across the country, enabling them to better provide their residents with safer, more reliable and affordable public clean water services.”
The bill includes provisions to ensure that EPA integrates the use of green infrastructure throughout its CWA compliance programs. As communities continue dealing with aging infrastructure and increasing water quality challenges, green infrastructure can provide a cost-effective, environmentally friendly tool to help better manage wastewater and stormwater.