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The Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) would be reauthorized for five years and publicly owned wastewater systems would be eligible to compete for a new pot of resilience grants under legislation unanimously approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on October 29. The Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act (H.R. 1497) could eventually be added to a Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) reauthorization that Congress expects to consider next year.

H.R. 1497 includes a number of updates to the Clean Water Act and its wastewater infrastructure programs. The bill would reauthorize the CWSRF at $14 billion over five years while codifying requirements that states use at least 15 percent of their annual capitalization grants for green infrastructure projects, and between 10 and 30 percent for additional subsidization for in-need communities.

Another component of the bill would authorize $110 million for watershed pilot projects under the Clean Water Act, including a new class of eligible projects that would help publicly owned treatment works build resilience to natural disasters and extreme weather events. This new provision mirrors the Drinking Water System Infrastructure Resilience and Sustainability Program Congress created last year to help community water systems adapt to similar threats, for which AMWA has been a leading advocate. In September AMWA and other organizations wrote in support of Senate legislation that would expand the existing drinking water program while also creating a wastewater version of the program.

There is no timeframe for when H.R. 1497 may be considered on the House floor, but the measure is widely expected to play a role in bicameral negotiations over the next WRDA bill that Congress is expected to develop next year. Congressional staff have indicated that both chambers want to include a CWSRF and related Clean Water Act policy revisions in the next WRDA bill, so H.R. 1497 is an early indication of what those provisions could look like.

The last WRDA bill, enacted in 2018, reauthorized the Drinking Water SRF and EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program, among other initiatives.