Putting Flight in the Fight

NASSCO gears up to discuss funding needs for underground infrastructure.

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NASSCO represents every segment of the underground infrastructure industry, from the system owners to the contractors who keep our communities safe and healthy through the proper assessment, maintenance and repair of water and wastewater systems.

Our responsibility is to speak on behalf of our industry to ensure communities — especially underserved communities — get the funding they need and manage assets properly to eliminate system failures.

NASSCO’s Government Relations Committee is a dynamic group that is gaining traction in Washington D.C., to build awareness and ensure infrastructure funding includes what is unseen: our crumbling water and wastewater systems. NASSCO’s D.C. Fly-In events are a pivotal way to make this happen. For the past three years, NASSCO members have come together either in person or virtually to share the need to fund underground infrastructure with government leaders in Washington, D.C. Paired with congressional representatives from their home states, NASSCO members are armed with everything they need to communicate NASSCO’s key policy recommendations:

1. Increase funding for water and sewer pipeline infrastructure

 Expand funding available through federal programs to increase funding to assess, rehabilitate and replace wastewater and stormwater collections systems.

 The Government Accountability Office should complete a report to Congress analyzing the state of sewer collections infrastructure and the national need for its maintenance and repair.

2. Strengthen asset management requirements and funding

 Provide federal technical and grant assistance to communities that lack the financial and technical resources to develop comprehensive asset management plans.

 Require that asset management plans be in place for sanitary and/or storm sewer systems for all applications to federally subsidized grants and loans.

 Require that certified inspectors perform inspections of drinking water, wastewater and stormwater collection and conveyance systems, and that a standardized identification and assessment method be used to assess pipe conditions.

3. Maintain regulatory compliance enforcement

 Full funding annually to federal programs and offices that directly and indirectly ensure that the Clean Water Act and National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permits remain in full regulatory compliance.

Why are NASSCO’s policy recommendations important?

 There are an estimated 19,700 wastewater pipe systems, comprising approximately 800,000 miles of sewer pipe.

 Over 75% of all Americans rely upon well-built and maintained wastewater and stormwater collections and conveyance systems.

 A vast majority of the nation’s sewer pipes were installed in the years just following World War II, which means they are at or beyond their design life. (A typical design life is approximately 50 years.)

 Increased volume and changes in population have placed a greater demand on these systems, which have not proportionally benefited from the increased federal and state funding available for treatment works following passage of the Clean Water Act in 1971.

 The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that at least 23,000 and up to 75,000 sanitary sewer overflow events occur in the United States each year due to structural failure, blockages and overflows.

 Diminishing of the wastewater collection and conveyance system impacts public health, the environment and the success of businesses large and small across America.

While the national needs for repairing and upgrading our wastewater and stormwater infrastructure are significant and will require broad and substantial policy and funding solutions, NASSCO’s policy recommendations are making meaningful headway towards improving the nation’s wastewater and stormwater collections and conveyance networks.

Please join us for the 2021 NASSCO D.C. Fly-In scheduled for the weeks of Dec. 6 and 13. If you’re not yet a NASSCO member, please join us by visiting nassco.org/join and get involved. 


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