Debate over detailed solutions to close the gap in funding the nation’s water infrastructure needs has begun. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) introduced legislation on July 15 to establish a Clean Water Trust Fund for repairing and upgrading the nation's drinking-water and wastewater treatment systems.
The bill aims to amass $10 billion in annual funding through a mix of taxes on bottled beverages, corporate profits, pharmaceuticals and products typically disposed of in wastewater. Almost half the funds would be distributed as grants and loans through the existing Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund (SRF). Over one-third of the funding would be distributed as loans through the drinking water SRF. The remainder would support new programs that address security upgrades, energy efficiency, sewer overflow control, workforce development, reducing pharmaceuticals in water and various studies and demonstration projects.