WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) today lauded Senate passage of the bipartisan Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021.  This legislation reauthorizes and expands federal investments in Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant programs and revolving loan funds that help states and municipalities address lead contamination, wastewater pollution and other critical infrastructure needs.

“Replacing lead service lines and modernizing drinking water and wastewater infrastructure is a matter of public health, environmental safety, and racial and economic justice,” said Sen. Menendez.  “New Jersey is home to some of the oldest towns and cities in America, and many are grappling with aging water infrastructure, including lead pipes and outdated wastewater and stormwater systems.  This bipartisan legislation will put people to work replacing lead water lines, upgrading sewer systems, and reducing wastewater pollution, with a renewed emphasis on underserved communities that too often bear the brunt of our environmental crises.”

The Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021 authorizes $35 billion for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, with at least 40 percent of those funds designed to provide small and disadvantaged communities with subsidized loans and direct grants.  It also invests $500 million over five years on efforts to reduce lead in drinking water, increases funding for lead testing in schools, and creates a new grant program for lead line replacement.

“The passage of this legislation will compliment future efforts by Congress to make bold investments in water infrastructure and meet President Biden’s goal of replacing every remaining lead service line in America,” Sen. Menendez added.
Earlier this year, Sen. Menendez successfully fought and secured more than $10 billion in direct, flexible funds for New Jersey state and local governments that can be used to close budget shortfalls caused by the pandemic, keep essential workers on the job, and provide clean and safe drinking water to residents.  Last week, Sen. Menendez visited Bloomfield, N.J. to highlight how its local government is using a portion of its $24 million in American Rescue Plan funding to replace every remaining lead water line in the community.