WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. House of Representatives passed by voice vote H.R. 5320, the Assistance, Quality and Affordability (AQUA) Act of 2010, authorizing $4.8 billion over three years for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs to provide low-interest loans to communities to build or improve drinking water facilities. The bill also authorizes $100 million in grants over five years to help small public water systems comply with drinking water regulations, and $500 million annually over the same period to support EPA’s Endocrine Disruptor Screening program.
While WWEMA supports these important programs to help communities meet their critical infrastructure needs and address potential public health risks associated with endocrine disruptors found in source water supplies, it is disappointed with the fact that a Buy American provision, similar to that contained in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, was attached to the bill and could become a permanent component of future water infrastructure programs.
“At a time when we need to expedite job creation through investment in our nation’s infrastructure, placing expanded procurement restrictions on local communities will only serve to delay projects, add to their costs, and disrupt supply chains that U.S. manufacturers rely upon to provide the best products for their customers,” said WWEMA President Dawn Kristof Champney.
The U.S. Senate must now act on its bill, which is similar in nature but does not contain a Buy American provision.