Like many other parts of the country, Washington state gets a failing grade on stormwater and wastewater infrastructure. In its most recent infrastructure report card, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Washington state a “D+” for stormwater infrastructure and “C-” for wastewater infrastructure. Most of our state’s wastewater systems are beyond their design life, and the conveyance networks as a whole are in poor condition.
Turning this around will require significant federal investment. It’s also necessary. Washington’s wastewater utilities will need to serve an additional 40% more people by 2032.
As part of this year’s “Puget Sound Days on the Hill,” Soundkeeper and partners on the Orca Salmon Alliance called on Washington state federal delegates to support a meaningful increase in funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to at least $10 billion per year. This program provides funding for states to issue low-interest loans and grants for wastewater infrastructure projects.
Americans care deeply about clean water. In a recent poll, 84% of voters across the country support increasing federal investment to rebuild the nation’s water infrastructure, and polling by Gallup demonstrates that water pollution has always been at the top of Americans’ environmental concerns.
Access to clean, safe, and affordable water is a basic human right but it is one that is too often neglected by aging infrastructure. Ensuring equitable access to funding for communities to make investments in wastewater and stormwater pollution controls, including green infrastructure, will enable us to better protect ourselves and our water from the worsening impacts of climate change and pollution. As Congress debates various economic recovery and infrastructure packages in Washington D.C. this year, now is the time for our delegates to push for more funding for clean water. We look forward to working with them to advocate for stormwater and wastewater infrastructure investments to recover Puget Sound.
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