Cory Booker Intros Two Bipartisan Bills to Address Wastewater Needs of Lower-Income Communities
Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) was joined by Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Doug Jones (D-AL) and last week introduced two bipartisan bills aimed at addressing the wastewater challenges faced by rural communities, low-income communities, and communities of color. Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL) plans to introduce companion legislation in the House of Representatives in the coming weeks. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than a million homes across the U.S. lack adequate plumbing, and nearly 200,000 lack a sewage system altogether -- meaning these homes do not have an adequate method for disposing of human waste. The Senators say the proposals introduced will help solve this challenge by expanding upon existing legislation to provide grant money that can be used to help fund wastewater systems for those in need. One bill, the Residential Decentralized Wastewater Improvement Act, would establish a new program under the Clean Water Act to provide grants to low- and moderate-income households for connecting homes to existing wastewater infrastructure or installing or upgrading individually-owned decentralized wastewater systems. The second bill would modify the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act by expanding the Department of Agriculture’s Household Water Well System Grant Program to provide grants of up to $20,000 to low- and moderate-income households in rural areas for installing or maintaining individually-owned decentralized wastewater systems. “This issue goes to the core of the larger issue of environmental injustice in this country. These bills will go a long way toward providing better access to wastewater infrastructure for individuals who desperately need it,” Booker said. More here.