West Virginia priorities secured in water infrastructure bills

WEST VIRGINIA (WOAY) – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) secured West Virginia priorities in the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 and the Drinking Water Infrastructure Act of 2020, which were both passed by the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee yesterday.

“Today the EPW Committee unanimously passed the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 and the Drinking Water Infrastructure Act of 2020, two bills which include major priorities for West Virginia. I am proud to have fought to include these priorities and will continue to fight to ensure that West Virginians have clean drinking water and receive the support needed for water infrastructure projects around the state,” said Senator Manchin.

West Virginia priorities in the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020:

  • Southern WV Economic Development: Two provisions directing the Army Corps of Engineers, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to work together on two comprehensive reports that would help identify potential local sponsors, business partners, and specific federal programs that could improve recreation, economic development, and hydro power in the Appalachian region.
  • Streamline Local Levee Certification: In response to concerns from various West Virginia communities about the difficulties of complying with two separate but related federal certification processes for locally owned and maintained levees, this report language will direct the agencies to consider establishing one uniform federal standard. This will directly benefit twenty-one WV communities, including those who are currently worried about losing their federal certification.
  • WV Water Infrastructure: Southern West Virginia communities who are in dire need of drinking and waste water infrastructure will benefit from this legislation. This provision instructs the Army Corps of Engineers to review these programs to ensure that they do not reach their authorized funding limit, and continue to provide design and engineering services to Southern West Virginia.
  • Bluestone Dam Expedite: Instructs the Army Corps of Engineers to expedite the final bolstering of Bluestone Dam.

West Virginia priorities in the Drinking Water Infrastructure Act of 2020:

  • Updates the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Funds Program: This update will help target small, rural, and disadvantaged communities and also increases funding authorization of the program to $300,000,000.
  • PFAS Contamination: Allows for grants under the State Revolving Loan Funds to be used by eligible sites with PFAS contamination, as West Virginia saw in Martinsburg and Vienna. Additionally, requires the administrator of the EPA to set a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for, at minimum, PFOA and PFOS, the two most common PFAS substances, within 2 years of passage.
  • Small Public Water Systems: Creates an operational sustainability program for small public water systems that is designed to help improve the ability of systems, like those in West Virginia, that lose a majority of the water they treat because of leaks and line breaks that are difficult to detect.
Tyler Barker
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