Congresswoman Terri Sewell

Representing the 7th District of Alabama

Rep. Sewell’s Decentralized Wastewater Grant Act and Amendment to Boost Wastewater Funding Included in the INVEST in America Act

Jul 6, 2021
Press Release
The INVEST in America Act passed in the House of Representatives on Thursday

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) announced that her bill, H.R. 3745, the Decentralized Wastewater Grant Act, was included in House Democrats’ INVEST in America Act which passed in the House of Representatives on Thursday. The bill would establish a grant program under the Clean Water Act, administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to help low and moderate income households connect their homes to existing wastewater infrastructure or install or upgrade individually owned decentralized wastewater systems. 

“Access to clean water and adequate wastewater infrastructure are basic human rights,” said Rep. Sewell. “For too many rural communities in my district and across the country, failing wastewater infrastructure has created serious health, economic, and environmental hazards.”

“The Decentralized Wastewater Grant Act will make it more affordable for families to connect their homes to existing wastewater systems or install quality septic systems of their own,” continued Sewell. “I was proud to introduce this legislation and thrilled to see it pass out of the House. This is one more step toward finally ending our country’s wastewater crisis.”

Sewell introduced the Decentralized Wastewater Grant Act on June 8, 2021. The bill originally provided $50 million for each fiscal year 2022 through 2026, totaling $250 million. However, thanks to an amendment offered by Sewell which passed the House on Wednesday, authorized funding for the program was doubled in the House bill. The bill would now provide $100 million for each fiscal year 2022 through 2026, totaling $500 million.

The INVEST in America Act would make significant investments in drinking water and wastewater infrastructure:

Drinking Water Infrastructure and Assistance Programs:

  • $53 billion: Drinking Water State Revolving Fund
  • $45 billion: Fully replace lead service lines nationwide
  • $5 billion: Assistance for local water systems to clean up PFAS contamination
  • $4 billion: Reduce and eliminate water utility debts incurred since March 2020
  • $8 billion: Federal low-income water assistance programs

Wastewater Infrastructure:

  • $40 billion: Clean Water State Revolving Fund
  • $2 billion: Grants to municipalities to capture, treat, or reuse sewer overflows or stormwater
  • $2.5 billion: Grants for state water pollution control programs
  • $1 billion: Clean water pilot programs and projects for climate resiliency
  • $1 billion: Alternative water source projects, such as wastewater or stormwater reuse, to augment the existing water supplies
  • $1 billion: Clean Water Act grants to municipalities to implement treatment standards for PFAS and other emerging contaminants
  • $2.5 billion: Wastewater infrastructure assistance to address backlog of needs for Indian Tribes