(2023) Infrastructure Act Clean Water Projects - Senate Committee

(2023) Infrastructure Act Clean Water projects-Senate Committee

March 15, 2023 | Ecological News

Committee Meeting Writeup:

March 15th, 2023 the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee hosted a committee meeting regarding of Water infrastructure. With Funding provided for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act (H.R.3684) passed by President Biden on 11-15-2021, Our Waterways, Drinking water, and Waste water treatment systems will all be upgraded in the largest investment in our water infrastructure ever. This was passed 89 votes in favor to 2 opposing.

EPW Committee Hearing on Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Implementation (youtube committee meeting): 

More about (H.R.3684): 

 https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/3684/text

Link to Youtube Channel for the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee:

https://www.youtube.com/@EPWCmte


Senator Carper of Delaware is the Chairman of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee.

In his opening remarks, he spoke about the Infrastructure Act's 

Implementation of Waste Water and Clean Drinking Water rules in 2024.

These PFAS drinking water standards are 20 years in the making.

This is a thoughtful, science based National Drinking Water standard for PFAS which will remove toxic forever chemicals from our waterways and drinking water.

The EPA is funded 12 billion dollars in the Infrastructure act, of that 12 billion, 4 billion is reserved for water infrastructure.

There is 55 billion dollars of State and Federal funds set to improve drinking and waster water in the single largest water infrastructure investment in nation's history.

An additional 219 million is set aside for upgrading school's lead pipes.

The committee had testimonies input about drinking water from large water utilities, EPA Office of Water, and the EPA Administrator Fox.


Senator Capito of West Virginia in her opening remarks 

Senator Capito of West Virginia in her opening remarks wanted to highlight the "Effective Solutions to these challenges" through grants for small and disadvantaged communities, innovative water technologies, PFAS special filtration requirements, and critical infrastructure upgrades.

Waster Water treatment facilities will have support to upgrade to advanced treatment technologies.

She also wanted to get the next generation excited about these advancements.

With clean, efficient, reliable and affordable water and sanitation solutions implemented in a mindful prioritized means through our Environmental Justice infrastructure projects.

These projects will directly protect human health.

Sen. Capito reiterated that this implementation should be implemented by the states but addressing the specific needs congress has instructed. The prioritization of water systems projects will not be defined by the census (population) but more by the specific need in communities that is the congressional intent.


EPA Administrator, Hon. Radhika Fox spoke about the Clean and Safe Water standards

EPA Administrator, Hon. Radhika Fox then spoke about the Clean and Safe Water standards being defined by career staff of EPA. They are implementing the standards and defining how to address the issues of clean water.

But this also leaves room for the flexibility of how to implement these standards to the states.

From Lead , to PFAS, to Climate adaptation and mitigation, and supporting good jobs in America the states are funding 43 billion to implement this broad water remediation effort.

The EPA State Workgroup and State Partnership has already invested 5 billion in first year of the Infrastructure act's Clean water initiative. This 5 billion was invested in 47 states and 6 tribes from SFR funding.

In projects like removing Arsenic from water Sierra Visa(RV Park) in Arizona, Linking Sussex County Delaware drinking water to a Regional Water System, and Removing 1000 Lead Pipes from low income areas in Pittsburgh, PA.

There is also 2 billion in Geographic Gulf, Conservation Restoration infrastructure helping protect and remediate the Chesapeake Bay and San Francisco Bay.

50 Million for underground carbon sequester and capture for mitigation of carbon pollution.

Then with EPA's significant technology assistance programs there are 29 environmental hub locations to help address the specific needs of the diverse areas these water infrastructure projects face. 

This is a transformational moment and opportunity to steward our resources and deliver on the vision of this water law.


Specifics for Standard PFAS:

Epa Administrator Fox said. "Exposure at very low levels is harmful to human health."

There are standards for 6 PFAS Chemicals based on the latest peer reviewed science and new state standard research and development.

This contamination is in our air, land, and water but the exposure of these chemicals in our water is the most significant and harmful.

Specifics for Standard PFAS:

MSL for PFAS in Drinking Water:

Max of 4 parts per trillion for PFOA and PFAS

Also an additional 4 chemicals : genx, PFBS, PFBX, .. will be monitored and addressed.

Fox said the EPA has lab capacity to monitor and test these chemicals.

There will be a Public Notification Requirements to allow the public to provide input allowing for a flexible approach to monitoring and compliance. There will be a 60 public comment period for feed back on this proposal where the standard will be implement in 2023 or very early in 2024.


Link to Public comment for PFAS

EPA requests input on the proposal from all stakeholders, including the public, water system managers, and public health professionals. Comments may be submitted through the public docket, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2022-0114, at www.regulations.gov

Note:

As of 3-28-2023, It seems like the Water infrastructure act comment period has not started yet.

and the PFAS Docket comment period is closed currently.

This will be updated when the comment link is available.

More about Clean Water infrastructure

More about PFAS Regulation Standards EPA Press Release


More about Environmental Justice

Check out Pennsylvania's Executive Order on Environmental justice which makes every infrastructure project into an environmental remediation project as well.

This is part of ta Federal Environmental Justice initial that some states like Pennsylvania and New Jersey have enacted.