Senator Tom Carper is promoting a water infrastructure bill that could make more funding available for projects in Delaware.
The Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act passed the Senate last week, and now must make it through the House.
The bill would increase federal funding to water-related state revolving fund programs—which offer low-interest loans for communities to do water quality and infrastructure improvement projects.
“They’re helpful, but the money’s not nearly enough,” Carper (D-Delaware) said at a press event at Wilmington’s wastewater treatment plant Monday. “We have so many communities across the country where frankly, the water’s just unfit to drink.”
Carper said more support for these funds—as well as water infrastructure grants—would boost health and economic development.
“From Blades to the City of Wilmington, every Delawarean—and every American—regardless of their zip code, deserves clean drinking water,” said Carper. “This forward-thinking legislation makes investments into our nation’s much-needed water infrastructure projects so that our communities have reliable, clean water and the means to pay for it.”
Richard Duncan, executive director of the Delaware Rural Water Association, says more funding to the state revolving funds would make a difference for municipalities in Delaware.
“Anytime you get increased funding, we can increase projects,” he said. “[Currently] there’s a lot of projects on the table that we just can’t do.”
Duncan says projects currently seeking funding through the state revolving funds include water main improvements in Wilmington and wastewater treatment upgrades in Selbyville. He says the additional funding in the bill could also support the replacement of lead pipes and the expansion of water mains in places where the population is growing.
The proposed Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act includes nearly $30 billion in funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund and the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund, plus $6 billion in grant funding. It targets grants toward small, disadvantaged and rural communities, and focuses on water projects that improve resilience to climate change.