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Library of Congress Summary
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
Water Quality Financing
Technical and Management Assistance
Amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly known as the Clean Water Act [CWA]) to authorize the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to make grants to nonprofit organizations to provide:
(1) technical assistance to rural and small municipalities and tribal governments for planning, developing, and financing eligible state water pollution control revolving fund projects;
(2) technical assistance and training to enable rural, small, and tribal publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) and decentralized wastewater systems to protect water quality and comply with the CWA; and
(3) information to rural, small, and tribal municipalities and municipalities that meet specified affordability criteria with respect to planning, design, construction, and operation of POTWs and decentralized wastewater treatment systems.
Authorizes appropriations for FY2010-FY2014 for implementing:
(1) such grants; and
(2) specified grant programs, training, and EPA programs relating to the causes, prevention, reduction, and elimination of water pollution.
Requires the Administrator to make available a specified amount to support an EPA clearinghouse that collects and disseminates information on small flows of sewage and innovative or alternative wastewater treatment processes and techniques.
Authorizes appropriations for FY2010-FY2014 for:
(1) grants to states for administering programs for the prevention, reduction, and elimination of pollution;
(2) watershed pilot projects (currently, wet weather watershed pilot projects);
(3) grants to states for water pollution control revolving funds;
(4) a pilot program for alternative water source projects;
(5) sewer overflow control grants;
(6) remediation of sediment contamination in areas of concern in the Great Lakes; and
(7) a public information program to provide information relating to the remediation of contaminated sediment in U.S. public areas of concern.
Revises provisions relating to watershed pilot project grants.
Expands the types of projects eligible for technical assistance and grants to include:
(1) efforts of municipalities and property owners to demonstrate cooperative ways to address nonpoint sources of pollution to reduce adverse impacts on water quality;
(2) the development of an integrated water resource plan for the coordinated management and protection of surface water, ground water, and stormwater resources on a watershed or subwatershed basis to meet the objectives, goals, and policies of the CWA; and
(3) the development of a municipality-wide plan that identifies the most effective placement of stormwater technologies and management approaches to reduce water quality impairments from storm water on a municipality-wide basis.
Requires the Administrator to report to Congress on the results of such grants by October 1, 2011.
Construction of Treatment Works
Provides that a community seeking financial assistance from the state water pollution control revolving fund for the replacement or major rehabilitation of a sewage collection system existing on January 1, 2007, or for the construction of a new system shall be eligible for such assistance, provided:
(1) the replacement and rehabilitation of the existing collection system or the new collection system is to address an existing adverse environmental condition; and
(2) the project otherwise meets the requirements of the CWA.
Amends the definition of "treatment works" to include the acquisition of lands and interests in land that are necessary for construction.
State Water Pollution Control Revolving Funds
Revises requirements for capitalization grant agreements with states for establishing water pollution control revolving funds, including by:
(1) requiring states to set aside 15% of funds for assistance to municipalities of fewer than 10,000 individuals that meet specified affordability criteria; and
(2) applying prevailing wage payment requirements to the construction of treatment works pursuant to a state water pollution control revolving fund or a water pollution prevention and control grant.
Expands the types of projects eligible for assistance from such funds to include:
(1) the implementation of lake protection programs and projects;
(2) repair or replacement of decentralized wastewater treatment systems that treat domestic sewage;
(3) measures to manage, reduce, treat, or reuse municipal stormwater, agricultural stormwater, and return flows from irrigated agriculture;
(4) measures to reduce the demand for POTW capacity through water conservation, efficiency, or reuse;
(5) the development and implementation of watershed pilot projects; and
(6) measures to reduce the energy consumption needs for POTWs, including the implementation of energy-efficient or renewable-energy generation technologies.
Authorizes states to extend the repayment period for a fund loan from the current limit of 20 years to the lesser of 30 years or the design life of the project to be financed with the proceeds.
Conditions eligibility for a loan on the recipient developing and implementing a fiscal sustainability plan for any portion of the treatment works proposed for repair, replacement, or expansion.
Sets forth plan elements.
Revises the types of assistance that may be provided under state water pollution control revolving loan funds.
Authorizes fund grants to owners and operators of treatment works:
(1) that serve a population of 10,000 or fewer for technical, planning, and financial management assistance, user fee analysis, budgeting, capital improvement planning, facility operation and maintenance, equipment replacement, repair schedules, and other activities to improve wastewater treatment plant management and operations; and
(2) for assessing the energy and water consumption of the treatment works and evaluating potential opportunities for energy and water conservation through facility operation and maintenance, equipment replacement, and projects or activities that promote the efficient use of energy and water.
Authorizes states to provide additional subsidization, including forgiveness of principal and negative interest loans, to benefit specified municipalities or to implement a process, material, technique, or technology to address water-efficiency goals, address energy-efficiency goals, mitigate stormwater runoff, or encourage environmentally sensitive project planning, design, and construction.
Requires states to:
(1) establish affordability criteria to assist in identifying municipalities that would experience a significant hardship raising revenue for fund projects;
(2) establish a list of fund projects that prioritizes water quality improvement projects for FY2011 and thereafter;
(3) provide financial assistance to only projects on such list; and
(4) provide an explanation if they do not fund projects in priority order.
Requires the Administrator:
(1) by September 30, 2011, to publish a formula for the allotment of fund amounts based on water quality needs in accordance with the most recent survey of needs developed by the Administrator; and
(2) to prepare and make publicly available an annual report on the performance of the projects and activities implemented with fund assistance.
Requires the Administrator to: (1) assist states in establishing simplified procedures for treatment works to obtain assistance; and (2) publish a manual to assist treatment works in obtaining assistance. Prohibits state water pollution control revolving funds from being used for the construction of treatment works unless the steel, iron, and manufactured goods used in such treatment works are produced in the United States.
Authorizes appropriations for capitalization grants for state water pollution control revolving funds for FY2010-FY2014. Prohibits any of such funds from being used for a congressional earmark.
Requires the Administrator to reserve a specified amount of state water pollution control revolving funds for Indian tribes for FY2009 and thereafter. Requires such reserved funds to be used to serve: (1) Indian tribes; (2) former Indian reservations in Oklahoma; and (3) Alaska Native villages.
Increases the tonnage duty (currently, a tax) on specified vessels entering or returning to a U.S. port for FY2010-FY2019.
Requires the Administrator to:
(1) study and report to Congress on wastewater treatment facilities that discharge into the Rio Grande River; and
(2) develop recommendations for improving monitoring, information sharing, and cooperation between the United States and Mexico. Requires the Comptroller General to:
(1) study and report to Congress on water infrastructure along the border between the United States and Mexico to augment current studies relating to colonias development; and
(2) examine the comprehensive planning needs relating to water and wastewater infrastructure for colonias along such border.
Alternative Water Source Projects
Requires the Administrator, in making grants for the pilot program for alternative water source projects, to consider whether a project is located in an area which is served by a public water system serving 10,000 individuals or fewer. Authorizes appropriations for such grants for FY2010-FY2014. Tittle III: Sewer Overflow Control Grants -
Requires the Administrator to:
(1) ensure that a state uses at least 20% of its sewer overflow control grants to implement projects to control municipal combined sewer overflows and sanitary sewer overflows through the use of green infrastructure, water and energy efficiency improvements, and other environmentally innovative activities; and
(2) report to Congress by December 31, 2012, and periodically thereafter on recommended funding levels for sewer overflow control grants.
Authorizes appropriations for such grants for FY2010-FY2014.
Monitoring, Reporting, and Public Notification of Sewer Overflows
Amends the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System to direct the Administrator or a state to require the owner or operator of a POTW to monitor, provide notification to the public, public health authorities, and other affected entities of, and report on, sewer overflows. Provides for the approval of state notification programs.
Great Lakes Legacy Reauthorization
Amends the Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2002 to authorize appropriations for FY2010-FY2014 for research on the development and use of innovative approaches, technologies, and techniques for the remediation of sediment contamination in U.S. areas of concern.
Requires the Administrator to:
(1) study and report to Congress on the condition of wastewater treatment facilities located in the United States and Canada that discharge into the Great Lakes;
(2) determine the effect that such facilities have on the water quality of the Great Lakes; and
(3) develop recommendations to improve water quality monitoring by the operators of such facilities, establish a protocol for improved notification and information sharing between the countries, and promote cooperation between the countries to prevent the discharge of untreated and undertreated wastewater.
Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products
Requires the Administrator to: (1) study and report to Congress on the presence of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in U.S. waters; and (2) identify PPCPs that have been detected, the levels of detection, the sources of PPCPs, and methods to control, limit, treat, or prevent PPCPs.
Requires the Administrator to convene a task force to develop and report to Congress on: (1) recommendations on the proper disposal of unused pharmaceuticals by consumers, health care providers, and others; and (2) a strategy for the federal government to educate the public on such recommendations. Terminates the task force 180 days after the submission of such report.
Requires the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to evaluate and report to Congress on the programs authorized by this Act under the Program Assessment Rating Tool or a successor performance assessment tool.
Chesapeake Bay Accountability and Recovery
Requires the Director to report annually to Congress on:
(1) a Chesapeake Bay interagency crosscut budget;
(2) an accounting of all funding amounts of at least $100,000 received and obligated by federal agencies for restoration activities that protect, conserve, or restore water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed;
(3) an accounting from each state of all funding amounts of at least $50,000 received and obligated from a federal agency for restoration activities; and
(4) a description of each of the proposed federal and state restoration activities.
Requires the Administrator to: (1) implement an adaptive management plan for restoration activities and update it every three years; and (2) report to Congress annually on such plan.
House Republican Conference Summary
The summary below was written by the House Republican Conference, which is the caucus of Republicans in the House of Representatives.
This summary can be found at http://www.gop.gov/bill/111/1/hr1262.
This legislation is a compilation of five separate bills relating to the Clean Water Act which passed the House in the 110th Congress. These bills from last Congress were H.R. 700, H.R. 720, H.R. 569, H.R. 2452, and H.R. 6460.
Clean Water State Revolving Funds: The Clean Water State Revolving Funds, authorized in this legislation at $13.8 billion, have not been reauthorized for the past 15 years. They were established under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, or "Clean Water Act," which was passed by Congress in 1972. Since the Fund's creation in 1987, the federal government has spent $57 billion on State loans for wastewater infrastructure, which are administered by the EPA. States maintain permanent loan funds for water projects which are financed by federal grants, State contributions, loan repayments, and interest. Under current law, States set interest rates for these loans between 0% and the market rate.
Great Lakes Legacy: The Great Lakes Legacy Act was first enacted in 2002 and was reauthorized in 2008 by the Great Lakes Legacy Reauthorization Act of 2008. This recent reauthorization bill included $53 million for the program in each of Fiscal Years 2009 and 2010. The Great Lakes Legacy program funds various EPA activities to clean up the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes region is home to about 40 million people and includes Michigan, part of Illinois, New York, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
H.R. 1262 reauthorizes several federal grant programs and implements new national reporting standards on municipalities and water treatment works operators.
Clean Water State Revolving Funds: H.R. 1262 authorizes $13.8 billion in federal grants over five years to further capitalize the Clean Water State Revolving Funds. These funds provide loans and subsidies (such as negative interest loans and principal forgiveness) to local communities for water infrastructure. Additionally, the bill would expand the types of water projects eligible for these funds to include, for example, lake protection programs, water facility security, and watershed improvement pilot projects. H.R. 1262 also extends the repayment period to 30 years for the loans. This repayment period is up from 20 years under current law.
Davis-Bacon: Contractors would be required to pay prevailing wages and benefits in order to receive work flowing from the Clean Water State Revolving Funds. Some Members may be concerned that this legislation expands Davis-Bacon prevailing wage provisions for contractors receiving Clean Water State Revolving Funds for treatment work projects.
According to Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Republicans, "This new expansion of Davis-Bacon requirements would inflate the cost of clean water projects across our nation and ultimately result in fewer projects being built, fewer jobs being created, and less clean water being achieved. By adding to the cost of public construction, the Davis-Bacon Act disproportionately impacts small, rural, and disadvantaged communities, which can least afford to pay the higher cost of projects. The revolving, non-federal component of the State Revolving Funds has operated successfully since 1987 without the onerous application of Davis-Bacon, the effect of which will be further restriction of state and local control."
"Buy American": This bill requires that U.S. steel, iron, and manufactured goods be used, unless the EPA Administrator finds that such products are not reasonably available in the U.S. or if compliance would raise the overall cost of the project by more than 25 percent. H.R. 1262 specifies that this provision "must be applied in a manner consistent with United States obligations under international agreements." Some Members may be concerned that this provision may raise the cost of water projects and might induce foreign countries to apply similar restrictions which would negatively affect trade with the U.S.
Alternative Water Source Projects: The bill reauthorizes an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant program which makes funds available for alternative water source projects which develop or provide water for municipal, industrial, and agricultural uses in areas which experience water shortages. H.R. 1262 authorizes $250 million over five years for this purpose.
Sewer Overflow Control Grants: H.R. 1262 reauthorizes sewer overflow control federal grants to States and localities. Sewer overflows can lead to untreated wastewater flowing into rivers, streets, and basements, affecting public health and the environment. These federal grant funds subsidize the redesign of sewer systems to separate sewage flows from storm water flows and help add system capacity to eliminate the possibility of combined flows exceeding the limits of existing infrastructure.
Community Right to Know: This bill requires owners and operators of publicly owned water treatment works, and municipalities, to provide notification of sewer overflows to the public, as well as to federal and State agencies.
Great Lakes Legacy Reauthorization: H.R. 1262 increases the authorization for eligible projects under the Great Lakes Legacy Reauthorization Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-365) from $50 million to $150 million. The Great Lakes Legacy Reauthorization Act funds projects which clean up areas of the Great Lakes where contamination has settled into sediments at the bottom of the lakes.
Revenue Provisions: The bill offsets the cost of the spending in the legislation by increasing vessel tonnage duties imposed on vessels entering the United States from a foreign port, as well as for foreign ships that depart from and return to an American port. The duty will be raised on vessels arriving from foreign ports in North America, Central America, the Bahamas, the West Indies, and Newfoundland. American vessels, recreational boats, and barges are not subject to these duties.
According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), implementing this legislation "would cost about $10.6 billion over the next five years and $17.7 billion over the next 10 years, assuming the appropriation of the necessary amounts."
House Democratic Caucus Summary
The House Democratic Caucus does not provide summaries of bills.
So, yes, we display the House Republican Conference’s summaries when available even if we do not have a Democratic summary available. That’s because we feel it is better to give you as much information as possible, even if we cannot provide every viewpoint.
We’ll be looking for a source of summaries from the other side in the meanwhile.