Clean and Safe Water

Talking Points

  • Support reauthorization and significantly expanded federal funding of the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund program.
  • Oppose reauthorization of the Construction Grants program.
  • Oppose imposition of any federal water tax to finance wastewater infrastructure construction.

NSPE Position

  • NSPE is a strong advocate of the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund program.
  • NSPE supports authorization and appropriation of substantially greater federal funds to the wastewater and drinking water state revolving loan fund programs. The needs suggest that the federal contribution to the SRFs should increase to as much as $8 billion annually.
  • NSPE supports SRF program changes that facilitate participation in the program by disadvantaged communities, reduce burdensome requirements, and enhance program flexibility.
  • NSPE would support the removal of Davis-Bacon prevailing wage language from any reauthorization legislation and the insertion of requiring the use of qualifications-based selection in state construction funded under the Clean Water Act.
  • NSPE opposes reauthorization of the EPA construction grants program and construction grants for "special needs" cities.

Growing public awareness and concern for controlling water pollution led to enactment of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972. This law became commonly known as the Clean Water Act.

The Act established the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the U.S. It gave EPA the authority to set wastewater standards for industry and municipalities. It also funded the construction of sewage treatment plants under the construction grants program and recognized the need for addressing nonpoint source pollution.

Subsequent reauthorizations modified some of the earlier Clean Water Act provisions. Revisions in 1981 streamlined the municipal construction grants process, improving the capabilities of treatment plants built under the program. Changes in 1987 phased out the construction grants program, replacing it with the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund. The Fund is financed primarily through EPA and provides low-cost loans, through the states, to municipalities to finance water pollution control projects.

Although the authorization for the Clean Water Act expired well over a decade ago, Congress continues to provide annual appropriations for the program. Unfortunately, annual appropriations for the SRF have continued to decrease over time.

NSPE References
Position Statements on Water Resources (#1736) and Wetlands Protection (#1722)

Issue Brief and Position: