WASHINGTON, D.C. – With local communities seeking cost-effective approaches to upgrading wastewater systems, U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced the Clean Water Compliance and Affordability Act – the bill would establish a national pilot program to ensure that the most innovative and cost-efficient solutions are available to local communities when complying with Clean Water Act standards.
“Many Ohio communities need to invest in their wastewater systems, but don’t know how they’ll afford upgrades,” said Brown. “This bill would help communities ensure that our rivers and streams are clean and that Ohioans have access to safe, reliable drinking water.”
“Local communities often struggle with the costs of inflexible government mandates and our legislation seeks to fix this,” Portman stated. “Our bill will encourage the EPA to work with interested communities in developing innovative and cost-effective solutions to comply with the Clean Water Act – solutions that can be used by other communities to provide affordable clean water to their citizens.”
Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune, founder of the Perfect Storm Communities Coalition, which helps address these issues nationally said, “I am grateful for the collaborative work of Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown, and their staffs, in working with our Coalition and House leaders to craft this important Clean Water Act compliance bill. With this model legislation the Congress and the President have an opportunity to implement the environmental benefits of the Clean Water Act in a manner that is affordable to Hamilton County and over 780 other similar local communities across the Nation.”
“Together, the program elements of watershed and adaptive management practices included in the bill, along with a pilot showcase communities program, almost guarantee that we will save ratepayers money while we aggressively and efficiently implement our obligations under the Clean Water Act,” said Portune.
Under provisions of the Clean Water Act, local communities must make upgrades to waste and storm water systems to ensure raw sewage and pollutants do not enter our nation’s waters. The ability for local and state governments to finance these projects has been strained during the ongoing economic recovery. By establishing pilot programs, 15 communities will work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to craft flexible compliance guidelines and find long-term methods for funding projects.
Brown and Portman continue their bipartisan effort toward establishing safe water guidelines in Ohio. Earlier this year, Brown and Portman announced that their Drinking Water Protection Act was signed into law. They also authored the Safe and Secure Drinking Water Act which would direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to publish a health advisory and submit reports on what level of microcystin in drinking water is expected to be safe for human consumption.