Congressman Greg Walden

Representing the 2nd District of Oregon

Greg Walden helps advance bipartisan legislation to modernize drinking water infrastructure in Oregon

July 27, 2017
Press Release

Greg Walden helps advance bipartisan legislation to modernize drinking water infrastructure in Oregon

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, today helped advance seven pieces of legislation, one of which is H.R. 3387, the Drinking Water System Improvement Act. The Drinking Water System Improvement Act passed unanimously through Walden’s Energy and Commerce Committee today, and seeks to strengthen the tools used to modernize drinking water infrastructure in Oregon and throughout the country.

“Moving a serious reauthorization of any major environmental law, like the Safe Drinking Water Act, takes a lot of cooperation and willingness to talk out the issues and find common ground,” said Walden. “That common ground brought us to where we are today. H.R. 3387 focuses on addressing drinking water systems’ physical needs, aiding states and utilities with compliance and operation of the drinking water program, and encouraging the wisest use of money that is spent.”

Drinking water is delivered across the country via millions of miles of pipes owned by both private and public water systems. While drinking water quality remains high across the country, improvements can be made, and infrastructure modernized. Many of these pipes were laid in the early to mid-20th century with a lifespan of 75 to 100 years -- some communities in Walden’s district still rely on wood stave pipes to deliver drinking water. 

The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) helps local communities provide their residents with safe drinking water, comply with drinking water rules and improve infrastructure.  In Malheur County, the city of Vale is using the DWSRF to complete a new 750,000 gallon water storage tank and $8 million water treatment facility to increase the city’s water supply. Nyssa is using the fund for a similar project. Meanwhile, in Umatilla County, the city of Pendleton has just secured funding through the DWSRF to replace 33 miles of pipe nearing a century in age. 

The Drinking Water System Improvement Act passed the Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously. This bill would; 

Authorize $8 billion over 5 years for the drinking water revolving loan fund program,
Open the eligible uses of the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) to now cover costs associated with preconstruction activities and replacing or rehabilitating aging treatment, storage, or distribution facilities. 
Create a strategic plan to have an electronic system that allows water utilities to send their compliance data to states and states send it to EPA. 
Reauthorize funding for voluntary source water protection programs. 
Encourage more readable and understandable consumer confidence reports and solidifies their electronic distribution. 
For more information on the bill, click here.

The Drinking Water System Improvement Act is part of seven pieces of legislation that advanced through Walden’s Energy and Commerce Committee today. For complete background on today’s legislation, please click here. 

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