Chairman Walden Highlights Committee’s Bipartisan Progress on Safe Drinking Water
Just last week, the Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously approved H.R. 3387, the Drinking Water System Improvement Act – legislation that seeks to bring greater investment to the country’s aging drinking water infrastructure.
Following committee approval, full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) highlighted many of the benefits of H.R. 3387 in the East Oregonian. “Our bill, the Drinking Water System Improvement Act, continues those important investments and authorizes $8 billion over five years for the drinking water fund while also expanding the number of ways in which the fund can be used to improve delivery systems,” wrote Walden. “Perhaps most important is how the bill looks to the future, using smart technology to monitor drinking water quality in real time.”
On July 27, 2017, the full committee unanimously approved H.R. 3387.
By: Rep. Greg Walden
All of us in Oregon and across the country deserve access to safe, clean drinking water. That’s why the Energy and Commerce Committee — where I serve as chairman — just passed bipartisan legislation to modernize the nation’s drinking water infrastructure.
Today, drinking water flows to our homes and businesses through more than one million miles of pipes operated by both publicly and privately owned water systems. Many of these pipes were laid in the early to mid-20th century with an expected lifespan of 75 to 100 years. In fact, some communities in Oregon still rely on wood stave water pipes that are reaching the end of their life. While in most places drinking water quality remains high, we also have seen horrible problems from Flint, Michigan to drinking fountains in Oregon schools.
Our legislation focuses on addressing drinking water systems’ physical needs, aiding states and utilities with compliance and operation of the drinking water program, and encouraging the wisest use of money that is spent.
For the last 20 years, Congress has helped drinking water delivery systems meet the challenge of providing consumers with safe and affordable water through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. From the end of 1997 through 2016, Oregon has received more than $274 million in grants to help improve the safety and quality of tap water, comply with drinking water rules and reporting requirements, and give a helping hand to the most economically distressed communities struggling to provide their residents safe drinking water. This fiscal year, Oregon is set to receive nearly $12 million in funding to improve its water systems.
Many rural communities across Oregon struggle with failing infrastructure and a limited ability to afford these increasingly costly projects. They turn to the drinking water fund for help. In Malheur County, rural communities such as Vale and Nyssa are completing new water treatment and storage facilities to bring safe drinking water to their residents. In Umatilla County, the city of Pendleton is upgrading more than 30 miles of water lines that are nearly a century old — Mayor John Turner said this project would be impossible without the program.
Our bill, the Drinking Water System Improvement Act, continues those important investments and authorizes $8 billion over five years for the drinking water fund while also expanding the number of ways in which the fund can be used to improve delivery systems…
Read the full article online HERE.