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Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 5, 2004

Press contact: Rob Perks, NRDC, 202-289-2420
If you are not a member of the press, please write to us at nrdcinfo@nrdc.org or see our contact page.


Congress Turning Off the Tap for Clean Water Funding?

Clean water is vital to safeguarding public health and the environment, yet our nation's waters are at risk; more than 300,000 miles of rivers and shorelines -- and some 5 million acres of lakes -- are considered "impaired" (polluted) by the Environmental Protection Agency. In the United States, there are an estimated 8 million cases of infectious waterborne illnesses every year from drinking contaminated water, eating tainted shellfish, and swimming in polluted waters.

Cleaning up our lakes and streams will take a substantial commitment of resources, especially money. The EPA's Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) is one of the principle sources of such funding. The Clean Water SRF offers long-term, low-interest loans to state and local governments to help them meet federal water quality standards by fixing old, decaying sewer pipelines, building and repairing wastewater treatment plants, and controlling other sources of water pollution.

State and local officials agree on the importance of this federal aid. "The Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund is among the most successful federal programs and is responsible for significant water quality improvements nationwide," says Roberta Savage, Executive Director of the Association of State and Interstate Water Pollution Control Administrators (ASIWPCA). "Now, more than ever, communities rely on this federal funding to tackle a wide array of water quality problems."


Clean Water at Risk

The EPA estimates that clean water infrastructure needs nationwide will cost $390 billion over the next 15 years. Funding to meet these needs will come from a variety of sources, including a hefty federal contribution. But consider these sobering statistics:

  • Continual funding of water infrastructure is essential in the United States since many systems have antiquated pipes that are 50-100 years old and in need of replacement.


  • ASIWPCA estimates that nationally there are $4.1 billion in projects ready to move forward in less than 90 days that are stalled due to the lack of funding. Funding these projects would help reduce pollution while creating jobs in those places.


  • Since the Clean Water Act was passed more than thirty years ago, the federal government's funding for clean water infrastructure in America has decreased by 70 percent; today the federal government funds a mere 5 percent of national infrastructure costs.


  • At the current rate of expenditure, the gap in funding for clean water and safe drinking water infrastructure would be more than half a trillion dollars by 2019, according to the EPA's 2002 Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Gap Analysis.


House Votes to Drain Clean Water Funds

Without ample Clean Water SRF funding, water infrastructure throughout the nation will be jeopardized. Unfortunately, the House Appropriations committee voted on July 22, 2004 to accept EPA's FY 2005 budget proposal, which would provide only $850 million in clean water SRF funding -- a nearly $500 million reduction (37%) from last year's budget. This sets up a likely floor fight in the House when Congress resumes its session in September.

In the past, congressional appropriators have championed clean and safe water in the face of repeated presidential attempts to cut environmental funding. This year marks the first time that the House Appropriations committee has endorsed the Bush administration's drastic budget cuts for the popular and successful Clean Water SRF.

States, localities, and private sources working to address their water infrastructure problems cannot meet this funding gap alone. For many states, water quality needs are urgent -- yet projects are already seriously under-funded. The following summaries for 10 states show how the House Appropriation committee's decision to drain funding for local clean water projects leaves communities high and dry.

Alabama

Municipal wastewater treatment plants are a leading source of water pollution in Alabama. According to EPA, 73 percent of assessed river miles and 25 percent of assessed lakes in the state are designated as "impaired" or polluted (Source: Environmental Protection Agency, National Water Quality Inventory, 2000 Report). Meanwhile, at Alabama's beaches, elevated bacteria levels resulted in 64 closing or advisory days in 2003 (Source: NRDC's Testing the Waters annual report, August 2004). What is at stake in Alabama?

  • Five clean water SRF projects currently await funding -- at an estimated cost of $27.7 million.


  • In FY 2004, Alabama received $15 million in clean water SRF funding. Under the EPA's FY 2005 budget, however, Alabama would only receive an estimated $9.5 million, or $5.5 million less in clean water SRF funding.


  • One of the projects now in jeopardy is in the 4th District of Alabama, which is represented by Rep. Robert Aderholt on the appropriations committee. The needed funding for the project totals $3.8 million and is slated for the upgrading and rehabilitation of the wastewater system in Cullman County.

Florida

According to EPA, 31 percent of assessed river miles and 48 percent of assessed lakes in Florida are designated as "impaired" (Source: Environmental Protection Agency, National Water Quality Inventory, 2000 Report). Meanwhile at Florida's beaches, there were at least 3,986 closing or advisory days, as well as 21 extended and nine permanent closings or advisories, in 2003 (Source: NRDC's Testing the Waters annual report, August 2004). What is at stake in Florida?

  • 92 clean water SRF projects currently await funding -- at an estimated cost of $307.5 million.


  • In FY 2004, Florida received $45.2 million in clean water SRF funding. Under the EPA's FY 2005 EPA budget, however, Florida would only receive an estimated $28.6 million, or $16.6 million less in clean water SRF funding.


  • Local projects now in jeopardy include:
    • Three projects in the 2nd District of Florida, which is represented by Rep. F. Allen Boyd, Jr. on the appropriations committee. The funding needed for these projects totals $14.2 million, and is slated for Panama City Beach (collection and reclaimed water reuse facilities) and Okaloosa County (wastewater transmission facilities).


    • Two projects in the 10th District of Florida, which is represented by Rep. C.W. Bill Young on the appropriations committee. The funding needed for these projects totals $5.1 million and is slated for the city of St. Petersburg to cover work on sewage wastewater facilities.


    • Two projects in the 15th District of Florida, which is represented by Rep. Dave Weldon on the appropriations committee. The funding needed for these projects totals $10.1 million and is slated for the city of Cocoa (for wastewater collection, transfer, treatment and reuse facilities) and the city of Palm Bay (for a wastewater collection facility).

Georgia

According to EPA, 84 percent of assessed river miles and 84 percent of assessed lakes in Georgia are designated as "impaired" (Source: Environmental Protection Agency, National Water Quality Inventory, 2000 Report). What is at stake in Georgia?

  • 121 clean water SRF projects currently await funding -- at an estimated cost of $1.5 billion.


  • In FY 2004, Georgia received $22.6 million in clean water SRF funding. Under the EPA's FY 2005 budget, however, Georgia would only receive an estimated $14.3 million, or $8.3 million less in clean water SRF funding.


  • Local projects now in jeopardy include:
    • Six projects in the 1st District of Georgia, which is represented by Rep. Jack Kingston on the appropriations committee. The funding needed for these projects totals $27.7 million, which is slated for the cities of Brunswick, Hinesville and Waycross, and the counties of Bryan, Chatham and Glynn, to address non-point source pollution and wastewater treatment plant and transport system upgrades.


    • 26 projects in the 2nd District of Georgia, which is represented by Rep. Sanford Bishop, Jr. on the appropriations committee. The funding needed for these projects totals $48.4 million and is slated for Lowndes County and the cities of Columbus and Valdosta to aid a variety of projects, including wastewater treatment plant and transport system upgrades and sewer rehabilitation.


Kentucky

Sewage treatment facilities and municipal discharges are leading sources of water pollution in Kentucky. According to EPA, 37 percent of assessed river miles in Kentucky are designated as "impaired" (Source: Environmental Protection Agency, National Water Quality Inventory, 2000 Report). What is at stake in Kentucky?

  • 795 clean water SRF projects currently await funding -- at an estimated cost of $1.75 billion.


  • In FY 2004, Kentucky received $17 million in clean water SRF funding. Under the EPA's FY 2005 budget, however, Kentucky would only receive an estimated $10.8 million, or $6.2 million less in clean water SRF funding.


  • Local projects now in jeopardy include:
    • Three projects in the 3rd District of Kentucky, which is represented by Rep. Anne Northup on the appropriations committee. This funding for Jefferson County would cover work at wastewater treatment plants (including one in Louisville). However, estimates for project costs are not yet available.


    • 204 projects in the 5th District of Kentucky, which is represented by Rep. Harold Rogers on the appropriations committee. The funding needed for these projects totals $672.2 million, and is slated for the counties of Bath, Bell, Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Harlan, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, McCreary, Menifee, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Rowan, Whitley, and Wolfe to aid a variety of projects, including sewer system upgrades and extensions.


Michigan

Combined sewer overflows are a leading source of water pollution in Michigan. According to EPA, 24 percent of assessed river miles and nearly 100 percent of assessed lakes in Michigan are designated as "impaired" (Source: Environmental Protection Agency, National Water Quality Inventory, 2000 Report). Meanwhile, at Michigan's beaches, there were 93 closing or advisory days in 2003 (Source: NRDC's Testing the Waters annual report, August 2004). What is at stake in Michigan?

  • 38 clean water SRF projects currently await funding -- at an estimated cost of $1.5 billion.


  • In FY 2004, Michigan received $57.6 million in clean water SRF funding. Under the EPA's FY 2005 budget, however, Michigan would only receive an estimated $36.5 million, or $21.1 million less in clean water SRF funding and still woefully short of the state's needs.


  • Local projects now in jeopardy include:
    • A project in the 9th District of Michigan, which is represented by Rep. Joe Knollenberg on the appropriations committee. The funding needed for this project totals $5 million and is slated to address the need for combined sewer overflow improvements in Oakland County.


    • Four projects in the 13th District of Michigan, which is represented by Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick on the appropriations committee. The funding needed for these projects totals $833.3 million, and is slated for the city of Detroit to cover combined sewer overflow and sewage wastewater treatment plant upgrades and improvements.


New York

Pollution from combined sewer overflows and municipal wastewater treatment plants are leading sources of water impairment in New York. According to EPA, 37 percent of assessed river miles and 77 percent of assessed lakes in New York are designated as "impaired" (Source: Environmental Protection Agency, National Water Quality Inventory, 2000 Report). Meanwhile, at New York's beaches, there were 692 closing or advisory days, as well as four permanent closings or advisories, in 2003 (Source: NRDC's Testing the Waters annual report, August 2004). What is at stake in New York?

  • 880 clean water SRF projects currently await funding -- at an estimated cost of $10.5 billion.


  • In FY 2004, New York received $147.8 million in clean water SRF funding. Under the EPA's FY 2005 budget, however, New York would only receive an estimated $93.6 million, or $54.2 million less in clean water SRF funding.


  • Local projects now in jeopardy include:
    • Three projects in the 16th District of New York, which is represented by Rep. JosÚ Serrano on the appropriations committee. The funding needed for these projects totals $4.4 million and is slated for the city of Bronxville (storm sewer and sewage overflow retention) and for Bronx county (pump station rehabilitation).


    • 70 projects in the 18th District of New York, which is represented by Rep. Nita Lowey on the appropriations committee. The funding needed for these projects totals $443.4 million and is slated for the counties of Rockland and Westchester, including the cities of Harrison, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle, Ossining, Peekskill, Port Chester, and Yonkers to aid a variety of projects, including pump station rehabilitation, sewer treatment plant projects, and Brownfield remediation.


    • Seven projects in the 20th District of New York, which is represented by Rep. John Sweeney on the appropriations committee. The funding needed for these projects totals $23.9 million and is slated for the city of Glens Falls (for three projects involving sewage treatment), and Delaware, Dutchess, and Warren counties (for four projects including sewage treatment plant and pump station improvement).


    • 30 projects in the 22nd District of New York, which is represented by Rep. Maurice Hinchey on the appropriations committee. The funding needed for these projects totals $375.6 million and is slated for the counties of Broome, Delaware, Orange, Sullivan, Tompkins, and Ulster to aid a variety of projects, including sewer replacement, phosphorous removal, and hazardous waste site remediation.


    • 38 projects in the 25th District of New York, which is represented by Rep. James Walsh on the appropriations committee. The funding needed for these projects totals $220.5 million and is slated for the town of Irondequoiet (for eleven projects addressing sewage rehabilitation), the village of Newark (for pump station and sewage treatment plant improvements), Onondaga County (for 23 projects covering combined sewage overflow and sewage treatment plant improvements, pump station rehabilitation and improvements, and sewer replacement) Wayne County (for sewage treatment plant improvement), and for Brownfield cleanup.


Ohio

Pollution from combined storm and sewer overflows is a leading source of water impairment in Ohio. According to EPA, 45 percent of assessed river miles and 33 percent of assessed lakes in Ohio are designated as "impaired" (Source: Environmental Protection Agency, National Water Quality Inventory, 2000 Report). Meanwhile, at Ohio's beaches, there were 255 closing or advisory days, as well as six extended closings or advisories, in 2003 (Source: NRDC's Testing the Waters annual report, August 2004). What is at stake in Ohio?

  • 231 clean water SRF projects currently await funding -- at an estimated cost of $1 billion.


  • In FY 2004, Ohio received $75.4 million in clean water SRF funding. Under the EPA's FY 2005 budget, however, Ohio would only receive an estimated $47.7 million, or $27.7 million less in clean water SRF funding.


  • Local projects now in jeopardy include:
    • 10 projects in the 7th District of Ohio, which is represented by Rep. David Hobson on the appropriations committee. The funding needed for these projects totals $51.1 million and is slated for Jeffersonville, Pickerington, Springfield, the Village of Baltimore, the Kinnikinnick Sewer District and the Paint Creek Watershed to aid a variety of projects, including wastewater treatment plant upgrades, sanitary sewer work, and the Erie/E40/Airport interceptor.


    • 43 projects in the 9th District of Ohio, which is represented by Rep. Marcy Kaptur on the appropriations committee. The funding needed for these projects totals $246.8 million and is slated for the cities of Lorain (for five projects addressing sewer improvements and pump stations), Toledo (for 36 projects covering combined sewer overflow, sanitary sewer overflow, sewage treatment, and pumps and equipment improvements), and Vermilion (for a phase-two sewer project).


    • Eight projects in the 16th District of Ohio, which is represented by Rep. Ralph Regula on the appropriations committee. The funding needed for these projects totals $26.4 million and is slated for the cities of Hayesville and Wooster (wastewater treatment), Medina county (a sewage treatment project and a Medina Reservoir sewer replacement), Stark county (four projects addressing the Arena Area rehabilitation, Perry Township, Superior Dairy, and disinfection expansion for the city of Navarre).


Pennsylvania

Storm sewers are a leading source of water pollution in Pennsylvania. According to EPA, 20 percent of assessed river miles and 62 percent of assessed lakes in Pennsylvania are designated as "impaired" (Source: Environmental Protection Agency, National Water Quality Inventory, 2000 Report). What is at stake in Pennsylvania?

  • 31 clean water SRF projects currently await funding -- at an estimated cost of $122.8 million.


  • In FY 2004, Pennsylvania received $53 million in clean water SRF funding. Under the EPA's FY 2005 budget, however, Pennsylvania would only receive an estimated $33.6 million, or $19.4 million less in clean water SRF funding.


  • Local projects now in jeopardy include:
    • Nine projects in the 5th District of Pennsylvania, which is represented by Rep. John Peterson on the appropriations committee. The funding needed for these projects totals $27.3 million and is slated for the cities of Brockway, Clearfield, Coburn, Falls Creek, Foxburg, Madera, Mahoning, Nelson, and Philipsburg to aid a variety of projects, including sewer system construction and upgrades and wastewater collection system and treatment facility design.


    • Three projects in the 10th District of Pennsylvania, which is represented by Rep. Don Sherwood on the appropriations committee. The funding needed for these projects totals $11.9 million and is slated for the cities of Elysburg, Hummels Warf, and Milton to aid a variety of projects, including pump station construction and wastewater and sewage collection systems.


    • Three projects in the 12th District of Pennsylvania, which is represented by John Murtha on the appropriations committee. The funding needed for these projects totals $5.1 million and is slated for the cities of Allenport, Indiana, and Monongahela to address sewage system construction and sewage treatment plant upgrades.


Virginia

Industrial and municipal point sources are leading sources of water pollution in Virginia. According to EPA, 49 percent of assessed river miles in Virginia are designated as "impaired" (Source: Environmental Protection Agency, National Water Quality Inventory, 2000 Report). What is at stake in Virginia?

  • 22 clean water SRF projects await funding at an estimated cost of $183.9 million.


  • In FY 2004, Virginia received $27.4 million in clean water SRF funding. Under the EPA's FY 2005 budget, however, Virginia would only receive an estimated $17.4 million, or $10 million less in clean water SRF funding and still woefully short of the state's needs.


  • Local projects now in jeopardy include:
    • Two projects in the 5th District of Virginia, which is represented by Rep. Virgil Goode on the appropriations committee. The funding needed for these projects totals $3.5 million and is slated for the cities of Brookneal and Charlottesville to aid a variety of projects, including land conservation and infiltration and inflow rehabilitation.


    • Two projects in the 8th District of Virginia, which is represented by Rep. James Moran on the appropriations committee. The funding needed for these projects totals $122 million and is slated for the cities of Alexandria and Arlington to aid a variety of projects, including projects to prevent overflows.


Washington

Combined sewer overflows are a leading source of water pollution in Washington. According to EPA, 54 percent of assessed river miles and 38 percent of assessed lakes in Washington are designated as "impaired" (Source: Environmental Protection Agency, National Water Quality Inventory, 2000 Report). Meanwhile, at Washington's beaches, there were seven closing or advisory days in 2003 in response to known sewage spills and two closing or advisory days due to elevated bacteria levels (Source: NRDC's Testing the Waters annual report, August 2004). What is at stake in Washington?

  • 123 clean water SRF projects currently awaiting funding -- totaling $247.5 million.


  • In FY 2004, Washington received $23.3 million in clean water SRF funding. Under the EPA's FY 2005 budget, however, Washington would only receive an estimated $14.7 million, or $8.6 million less in clean water SRF funding and still woefully short of the state's needs.


  • Local projects now in jeopardy include:
    • 23 projects in the 5th District of Washington, which is represented by Rep. George Nethercutt, Jr. on the appropriations committee. The funding needed for these projects totals $85.4 million and is slated for the Pomeroy Conservation District and the counties of Adams, Asotin, Ferry, Garfield, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, and Whitman to aid a variety of projects, including various water quality monitoring and evaluation projects, abandoned ruby mine reclamation, and work on the Spokane Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer.


    • 10 projects in the 6th District of Washington, which is represented by Rep. Norman Dicks on the appropriations committee. The funding needed for these projects totals $64.4 million and is slated for the city of Tacoma (central wastewater treatment plant upgrade), Clallam County (drinking water monitoring and stormwater remediation), Grays Harbor County (water quality and assessment), and Kitsap County (various projects including combined sewer overflow reduction and pump station upgrade).



State Funding At Risk

The House budget's across-the-board cuts for CWSRF are illustrated in the chart below.


Impacts on States of FY 2005 Budget Cuts to EPA's Clean Water SRF1
(in millions of dollars of budget authority)


StateEnacted Funding for
FY 2004
Proposed Bush Budget/House Appropriations CommitteeNet Decrease2
DollarsPercentage
AL15.09.5-5.5-36.7
AK8.05.1-2.9-36.3
AZ9.05.7-3.3-36.7
AR8.85.5-3.3-37.5
CA95.760.6-35.1-36.7
CO10.76.8-3.9-36.4
CT16.410.4-6.0-36.6
DE6.64.2-2.4-36.4
DC6.64.2-2.4-36.4
FL45.228.6-16.6-36.7
GA22.614.3-8.3-36.7
HI10.46.6-3.8-36.5
ID6.64.2-2.4-36.4
IL60.538.3-22.2-36.7
IN32.320.4-11.9-36.8
IA18.111.5-6.6-36.5
KS12.17.7-4.4-36.4
KY17.010.8-6.2-36.5
LA14.79.3-5.4-36.7
ME10.46.6-3.8-36.5
MD32.420.5-11.9-36.7
MA45.528.8-16.7-36.7
MI57.636.5-21.1-36.6
MN24.615.6-9.0-36.6
MS12.17.6-4.5-37.2
MO37.123.5-13.6-36.7
MT6.64.2-2.4-36.4
NE6.84.3-2.5-36.8
NV6.64.2-2.4-36.4
NH13.48.5-4.9-36.6
NJ54.734.6-20.1-36.7
NM6.64.2-2.4-36.4
NY147.893.6-54.2-36.7
NC24.215.3-8.9-36.8
ND6.64.2-2.4-36.4
OH75.447.7-27.7-36.7
OK10.86.9-3.9-36.1
OR15.19.6-5.5-36.4
PA53.033.6-19.4-36.6
RI9.05.7-3.3-36.7
SC13.78.7-5.0-36.5
SD6.64.2-2.4-36.4
TN19.412.3-7.1-36.6
TX61.238.8-22.4-36.6
UT7.14.5-2.6-36.6
VT6.64.2-2.4-36.4
VA27.417.4-10.0-36.5
WA23.314.7-8.6-36.9
WV20.913.2-7.7-36.8
WI36.222.9-13.3-36.7
WY6.64.2-2.4-36.4
Amer. Samoa1.20.8-0.4-33.3
GU0.90.6-0.3-33.3
N. Mariana Islands0.60.4-0.2-33.3
PR17.511.1-6.4-36.6
VI0.70.4-0.3-42.9
Indian Tribes20.112.7-7.4-36.8
Total31342.0850.0-492.0-36.7
(1) CWSRF: the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which provides long-term, low-interest loans to states for sewage plant construction.
(2) Net Decrease: the total decrease in funding from all listed programs from the FY 2004 estimate to the FY 2005 proposal.
(3) Totals may not add due to rounding.


Fighting for Clean Water Funding

Aside from the threat to America's long-term water needs, the House Appropriations committee's half-a-billion dollar reduction in funding for the Clean Water SRF would translate into a loss of nearly 25,000 jobs nationally. It is no wonder that a diverse coalition of organizations supports a substantial increase in clean water funding. Joining NRDC in this effort:

American Council of Engineering Companies
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
American Public Works Association
American Rivers
American Society of Civil Engineers
Association of Metropolitan Sewage Agencies
Association of State and Interstate Water Pollution Control Administrators
Audubon
Coast Alliance
Council of Infrastructure Financing Authorities
Earthjustice
Friends of the Earth
National Association of Towns and Townships
National Environmental Trust
National Utility Contractors Association
Oceana
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Public Citizen
The Ocean Conservancy
Sierra Club
Water Environment Federation
Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association, Inc.

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has more than 1 million members and e-activists nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Related NRDC Pages
February 19, 2004, Aging U.S. Sewer Systems Threaten Public Health, New Report Finds
Swimming in Sewage
The Bush Record

 

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