The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced that the St. Tammany Parish, La., government received a...
A federal Clean Water and Safe Water Trust Fund that combines current State Revolving Fund (SRF) resources with $35 billion to be raised over five years by a 5-cent/container fee on bottled beverages would be established under draft legislation spearheaded by the Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies (AMSA).
Aimed to narrow the looming water and wastewater infrastructure financing gap, the initial draft of what AMSA terms "an evolving project" would authorize $9 billion annually from 2006 through 2010, with $2 million coming from current SRF appropriations and the balance coming from the bottle tax, which would apply to all bottled beverages except milk and fruit juices.
The bill would split $8 billion of the annual amount between Clean Water Act ($5 billion) and Safe Drinking Water Act ($3 billion) needs, with part of each pot being dedicated to loans ($2 billion of the clean water fund and $1.5 billion of the safe water fund) and grants ($3 billion of the clean water fund and $1.5 billion of the safe water fund).
Of the remaining $1 billion, the bill would allocate:
* $255 million for regional water quality programs for the Chesapeake Bay, the Great Lakes, Long Island Sound and the Gulf of Mexico;
* $250 million for enhancing fishery habitat;
* $245 million for technology programs, including $140 million for demonstration grants and $50 million for small and rural systems;
* $200 million for nonpoint pollution control programs; and
* $50 million for state assistance.
The draft language also identifies stormwater, water conservation, sewer overflows, abandoned mines and best practices for Total Maximum Daily Load waters as high priority clean water projects and replacing lead service lines, mitigating arsenic contamination and boosting desalination as top safe water projects.