The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Sept. 17 approved a bill authorizing $36.5 billion over five years for State Revolving Funds for wastewater-treatment and drinking-water projects. Industry groups welcomed the committee’s action but enactment is a long shot in 2008. For one thing, the Capitol Hill agenda is tight, even if there is a post-election, lame-duck session.

There also is a question mark in the House. Last year, the House passed a four-year, $14-billion Clean Water SRF authorization. But the Energy and Commerce Committee has jurisdiction over drinking water and has not acted on a bill. Even if an authorization is enacted, funds would be subject to annual appropriations. Clean Water SRFs’ 2008 appropriation is $700 million.