A bill introduced by Ohio’s two U.S. senators could soften some of the financial blow for communities struggling to pay for improvements to their sewage systems.

That includes Columbus, which has raised its water and sewer rates by double-digit percentages in each of the past three years, in part to pay for a $2.5 billion system upgrade aimed at reducing sewage overflows into rivers and streams.

The bill, introduced Aug. 4 by Sens. George Voinovich and Sherrod Brown, would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to update its affordability policy for communities facing federal mandates to upgrade their sewage systems.

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