What the Clean Water Assistance Bill Could Mean for Your Municipality
Written by AOS Treatment Solutions on September 18, 2017
In 1974, the United States passed the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), which requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set the standard for safe drinking water across the country. While the premise of the SDWA act is one that many local municipalities agree with, the stringent regulations have put a tremendous strain on many smaller communities that lack the necessary clean water assistance funds and resources.
To help communities tear down these barriers, Republican Senator Wicker from Mississippi and Democratic Senator Heitkamp from North Dakota introduced the bipartisan Bill S 518, or the Small and Rural Community Clean Water Technical Assistance Act.
What Is Bill S 518?
Bill S 518 would help by providing small rural communities with the resources they need to comply with the SDWA. It was written to amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and to provide valuable resources to struggling rural communities throughout the country. The bill helps communities in two separate ways. The first is through the $15 million grant, spread over five years. Communities can apply for various grants to provide on-site technical assistance and wastewater educational resources. The second part enables states to use up to 2 percent of their Clean Water State Revolving Funds to help small communities come into compliance with EPA regulations.
Clean Water Assistance To Help Smaller Municipalities Remain Compliant
How These Funds Will Help
One major obstacle many rural communities face is the lack of funds, technical expertise, and other necessary resources. Executive Director of Arkansas Rural Water Association, Dennis Sternberg, points out that “While we have fewer resources, we are regulated in the exact same manner as large communities.” Even though populations and funding are much smaller in these rural communities, they must still invest in the same complex and costly wastewater treatment systems.
Wicker and Heitkamp, along with other congressional supporters, are hoping the extra funds can provide these smaller communities with the clean water assistance support they need to build systems that are ideal for their specific municipalities. On-site technical assistance can help local municipalities find efficient and cost-effective ways to meet EPA standards.
The Small and Rural Community Clean Water Technical Assistance Act has received support from the National Rural Water Association (NRWA). Executive Director of the North Dakota NRWA, Eric Volk, pointed out that “Small and rural communities have the very important public responsibility of complying with all applicable Federal regulations and for supplying the public with safe drinking water and sanitation, every second of every day.” He goes on to say, “Most small community non-compliance with the Clean Water Act can be quickly remedied with on-site technical assistance and education.” The NRWA believes these extra funds could provide small communities with the clean water assistance resources they need to maintain Clean Water Act compliance.
If your municipality is struggling to find effective solutions to your wastewater compliance issues, the passage of this bill may provide the valuable resources you need. Until that time, your municipality must continue to look for viable solutions that meet the needs of your community, fit within your budget constraints and meet EPA requirements.
This is where AOS Treatment Solutions can help. We offer a range of efficient standard and custom solutions that are designed to meet your community’s specific needs and to enable your municipality to meet the stringent EPA regulations to ensure high-quality, safe drinking water. Contact us today to learn more about how our solutions can help your community.