AWWA's Response to Report on Sewage Pollution and How Bush Administration Puts Health at Risk

The Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Integrity Project released an 82-page report entitled Swimming in Sewage: The Growing Problem of Sewage Pollution and How the Bush Administration is Putting Our Health and Environment at Risk. Below is American Water Works Association's Executive Director Jack W. Hoffbuhr's response.

"The Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Integrity Project report on wastewater pollution is a helpful reminder that the quality and cost of the water we drink can be deeply affected by how we care for our precious source waters.

"The first and most cost-effective way to provide clean drinking water is to protect our watersheds, rivers, aquifers and reservoirs from pollutants. The AWWAhas long supported the establishment of federal water quality criteria for bacteria and pathogens to protect the source water that eventually flows to community drinking water treatment plants.

"AWWA also is keenly aware that increased federal funding is required to replace critical water infrastructure, particularly in older cities with shifting populations. AWWA estimates that more than $250 billion will be required in the next 30 years to replace aging pipes in our nation's existing drinking water infrastructure. AWWA supports the NRDC-EIP report's recommendation for more federal investment in state revolving funds to help offset critical water infrastructure needs.

"However, AWWA believes community water systems should be self-sufficient through well-reasoned and forward-looking rate structures and investments. While a federal trust fund may be worthy of consideration, AWWA opposes a federal tax for this purpose. Creating additional federal bureaucracy to meet local water needs is not the most cost-effective way to address infrastructure needs. In addition, local communities that have met their infrastructure challenges may resist federal taxation to pay for other communities' water needs.

"AWWA will continue to advocate for federal and local policies that protect source water from pollution and encourage safe and adequate drinking water."


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