Washington, DC (October 11, 2018) – This week the United States Congress passed America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018. The Rural Community Assistance Partnership, Inc. (RCAP) is excited to see Congress reauthorize robust funding levels in the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and include new programs with specific priorities benefiting rural Americans.
Most notably, RCAP welcomes the amendment to the Clean Water Act (CWA) to allow the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) to make grants for technical assistance available to nonprofit organizations to provide on-site technical assistance for much-needed wastewater infrastructure in rural, small, and tribal municipalities. It also amends the CWA to make aid more readily available to individual households’ decentralized wastewater treatment and to highlight the low- and moderate-income population without access to wastewater treatment, which includes more than 1.7 million Americans according to the 2010 Census. RCAP worked in partnership with the National Onsite Recycled Wastewater Association (NOWRA) in supporting these much-needed decentralized wastewater provisions.
RCAP is also pleased to see the enhancement of technical assistance for identifying lead in drinking water in schools and day care centers, with priority given to low-income areas. The provision also authorizes funding for monitoring, testing, and replacing school drinking water fountains dealing with lead contamination. The legislation also outlines intentions to improve accuracy and availability of SDWA compliance data, to allow stakeholders to continue to identify the needs in communities across the country.
“AWIA prioritizes asset management plans and best practices for public drinking water delivery systems and promotes increased training and updated educational materials, a critical need for the country’s smallest and most distressed communities. This legislation authorizes $4.4 billion in appropriations over three years, at a time where this funding is badly needed to upgrade and improve water systems and highlights the need for more career opportunities in the water utility sector, all areas that adversely affect small, rural communities. We were proud to support this legislation and look forward to continuing the work at the local level to ensure that every rural resident has access to safe drinking water and clean water services,” stated Nathan Ohle, Executive Director of RCAP.
RCAP is a national non-profit network providing opportunity, assistance, and practical guidance to small communities in all fifty states, U.S. territories, and tribal lands to ensure access to safe drinking water, sanitary wastewater disposal, and economic prosperity for all rural America. To learn more about RCAP, visit www.rcap.org.
Media Contact: Spenser Wempe
Rural Community Assistance Partnership, Inc.