Our customers are currently excluded from some federal funding that would help offset bill increases.
Our job is to provide our customers with safe, reliable water and wastewater services. To deliver on that commitment we must make important investments in the water and wastewater infrastructure to help ensure they continue to function properly in the future.
We are not alone as the entire industry faces a growing challenge as infrastructure across the nation is aging. A lack of or delay in needed investment could put public health at risk. In a recent report on the health of U.S. infrastructure, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the wastewater sector a D+ grade and noted that it will take billions of dollars of investment to get back on track. Policy leaders are taking meaningful steps to speed infrastructure improvements – and help manage the impact on customer bills – with programs like North Carolina’s state revolving fund (SRF).
The SRF which was established under the Clean Water Act offers taxpayer-funded low-interest loans to help utilities fund investments at a lower total cost. Today, publicly owned systems can use the money for water and wastewater projects, which sets an important precedent. But there’s a problem. Privately operated companies like ours can only apply for funds for water system investments. Unless the program is expanded to allow all utilities access to funding for water and wastewater projects, then millions of customers who have paid their fair share to support the SRF program won’t get the same benefit as their neighbors. As a result, improvements to our wastewater system could cost more for our customers than the exact same projects at a municipal system.
That’s not fair and we’re working on behalf of our customers to fix it. Our company supports a piece of federal legislation, H.R. 250, the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Parity Act, that would expand the loan program. This expansion would give companies like ours access to the same lower cost funding that publicly operated systems can now receive.
Carolina Water Service of North Carolina has applied for funding we are eligible for, and we will continue to do so to help keep rates affordable. However, without parity in the SRF Program, Americans with the biggest need could face the largest gap in infrastructure investment – despite paying taxes into the same programs that benefit their neighbors in surrounding communities.
You can help us. Please contact your Federal Representatives and urge them to support H.R. 250.