WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez applauded passage today by the Senate of the bipartisan America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 which includes provisions he has fought for to expedite Army Corps of Engineers flood mitigation projects, improve drinking water infrastructure, enhance ecosystem protection, and make investments in the nation’s ports and inland waterways.
“This legislation is good news for New Jersey,” said Sen. Menendez. “It makes smart investments I’ve fought for to protect New Jerseyans from the threats of river flooding and coastal storms, rebuild our aging water and wastewater infrastructure, limit our children’s exposure to lead-contaminated drinking water, and restore the environmental health of our waterways and estuaries – all while creating good jobs.”
The legislation includes several priorities Sen. Menendez fought for that directly benefit the Garden State including requiring the Army Corps to expedite the completion of the feasibility studies and upon completion of the report, to proceed immediately to preconstruction, engineering, and project design on the following projects:
Rahway River Basin Flood Risk Management. The study area includes mitigation for flood threats along the entire 82-square-mile Rahway River Basin, affecting 24 communities in Union, Essex and Middlesex Counties.
Hudson-Raritan Estuary Ecosystem Restoration Program. The Hudson Raritan Estuary is within the boundaries of the Port District of New York and New Jersey and within a 25 mile radius of the Statute of Liberty. This ecosystem restoration study will identify water resource related problems and examine existing conditions contributing to environmental degradation in order to develop solutions for ecosystem restoration.
New York-New Jersey Harbor and Tributaries: This regional coastal storm risk management study was identified as a focus area in the Army Corps’ North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study following Hurricane Sandy. This study area does not have a comprehensive plan for managing future coastal storms.
Additionally, Sen. Menendez secured the inclusion of these critical provisions regarding the Passaic River and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund:
Passaic River Superfund: The bill includes deauthorization of a portion of the Passaic River’s federal navigation channel project to allow for the advancement of a critical Superfund remediation. The Diamond Alkali Superfund site at the Passaic River is among the nation’s most ambitious and essential cleanups to remove dioxin, PCBs, and other toxins from a densely populated community.
Drinking Water: The bill includes the first reauthorization of the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, which provides federal funding to states to improve drinking water infrastructure, and doubles the program’s authorized funding level to nearly $2 billion. The bill also expands federal programs to support lead testing and remediation in schools, including the replacement of drinking fountains.