Rep. Sewell Secures Funding Increase for Wastewater Infrastructure
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, House appropriators released the text of a must-pass omnibus spending bill, which includes an additional $1.8 billion in funding for water and wastewater infrastructure through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. During the drafting process, Rep. Sewell worked with appropriators to urge the inclusion of funding for wastewater infrastructure. A vote is expected on the omnibus bill later today in the House of Representatives.
“New funding for water and wastewater infrastructure is going to have a real life impact for millions of working families across rural America,” said Rep. Terri Sewell. “I have seen firsthand the economic and health challenges created by deteriorating septic tanks and sewer systems, and today’s bill takes a step towards rebuilding our wastewater infrastructure. This year, I have met with stakeholders, from public health officials to engineers to lawmakers, and I believe this issue will take all of us working together to solve. As Congress considers larger infrastructure investments this year, I will fight to make sure that every community has the support they need to maintain safe water and wastewater systems.”
Experts suggest that 30 percent of homes in some parts of rural Alabama have failing septic systems, while another 15 percent of homes discharge sewage directly into the surrounding area.
In February, Rep. Sewell toured homes in Lowndes County to survey wastewater infrastructure in Alabama’s Black Belt. Rep. Sewell has also worked with the Alabama Department of Public Health to make sure that residents with health problems associated with deteriorating wastewater infrastructure receive the help they need. In 2013, Rep. Sewell helped White Hall secure a $1 million grant and $112K loan through the Rural Water and Waste Disposal Program (USDA) which they used to connect 50 homes and businesses to the municipal lines.
The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that aging pipes and inadequate infrastructure result in the discharge of 900 billion gallons of untreated sewage into U.S. waterways each year.
Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) is serving her fourth term representing Alabama’s 7th Congressional district. She sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and was recently appointed to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Sewell is a Chief Deputy Whip and serves on the prestigious Steering and Policy Committee of the Democratic Caucus. She is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and serves as Vice Chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus, and Vice Chair of Outreach for the New Democrat Coalition.