The measure, known as The Wastewater Treatment Works Security Act of 2003, earmarks $220 million for wastewater utilities to conduct vulnerability assessments and implement security enhancements at publicly owned treatment plants. Another $15 million is authorized for technical assistance on security measures to small-sized utilities and $5 million is authorized for further development and refinement of vulnerability self-assessment methodologies and tools for wastewater utilities. The Environmental Protection Agency will administer the grants.

The Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies called hailed the measure for providing "much needed funding." Ken Kirk, AMSA's executive director, says the legislation will "help ensure the security of the nation's critical infrastructure."

The House bill was introduced by Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), the senior Democrat on the panel. The House passed a similar bill last year but the Senate failed to act. Supporters hope this year the Senate will pass companion legislation.

egislation to authorize $220 million for grants to boost security at wastewater treatment facilities was approved overwhelmingly by the House on May 7. The vote was 413-2.