House subcommittee approves water infrastructure improvement funding
The House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment has approved a bill that could provide $20 billion to states in need of improvements to their water and sewer systems. Reauthorizing the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, from which the money would be drawn, must be done now, says Peter Raabe, policy director for the Washington-based environmental group American Rivers. “The bill should encourage natural solutions like green roofs, rain gardens and other systems that let more stormwater soak into the ground instead of sluicing off in a torrent to the sewer system,” he says.
Aged and overburdened sewer systems leak 860 billion gallons of raw and partially treated sewage into rivers and streams nationwide each year. “We spend as much as $4 billion every year on medical costs from swimming in sewage-contaminated waters,” Raabe says. “It’s a fact — we’re in the middle of a crisis.”