WEF Pens Letter Urging U.S. Senate To End Ban on Bypassing and Overflows

September 21, 2015

Laws & Regs, WEF Resources & Efforts

Eileen O’Neill, executive director of the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.), wrote a letter to the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, requesting that the Senate version of the fiscal year (FY) 2016 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill not restrict water resource recovery facilities from releasing water into the Great Lakes, even during a wet weather event.

The language banning bypasses and overflows appears in section 428 of the bill, which was introduced by U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R−Ill.) in response to the harmful algal blooms that appeared in the Great Lakes in 2014. This ban is estimated to cost billions of dollars in infrastructure investments, in addition to the tens of billions of dollars agencies are investing to implement existing combined-sewer-overflow, long-term control plans and other efforts to reduce bypassing at treatment facilities.

WEF asserts that in addition to being technically and financially unobtainable, this ban is an unfunded federal mandate included in a bill that proposes to cut the Clean Water State Revolving Fund program by nearly 30%. WEF also sent the letter to the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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