Water Infrastructure Improvement Act Opens New Paths to Affordable CWA Compliance for Local Governments
On January 14, 2019, the President signed the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act (H.R. 7279) (“WIIA”) granting municipalities new statutory tools to affordably confront the expensive infrastructure challenges of stormwater, wastewater and other water resource improvement goals using Integrated Planning.
First, WIIA adds new Section 402(s) to the Clean Water Act, which incorporates US EPA’s 2012 Integrated Planning Framework document into law. That document outlines the opportunities for local governments to set their priorities in achieving CWA compliance.
Second, WIIA allows a local government to incorporate its Integrated Plan into NPDES permits rather than be subjected to a federal consent decree. This usually is a much more flexible route. Even local governments with existing federal consent decrees may be able to transfer out of these decrees to a local plan and state permit conditions.
Third, WIIA requires that local affordability be considered in developing CWA compliance schedules. These changes give local governments an important voice in how the enforcement of the CWA requires local funds to be spent. Integrated Plans can address expenditures for:
- Combined sewer overflow
- Municipal stormwater discharge
- Municipal wastewater discharge
- Effluent limitations to implement a watershed allocation in a TMDL
- O&M for sanitary sewer collection systems
Integrated Plans remain a voluntary action wholly undertaken by a local government. Prior to WIIA, Integrated Plans were a good idea for local governments. Now, thanks to WIIA, Integrated Plans are an essential tool for local governments to manage their Clean Water Act compliance and infrastructure renewal.
McMahon DeGulis LLP has been a leader in developing, negotiating and integrating municipal wet weather plans for over a decade. Our experience applying Integrated Planning to achieve affordable, innovative solutions is unsurpassed.
For information regarding the development of an Integrated Plan or questions about the WIIA legislation and Integrated Planning, please contact one of our Clean Water Act Compliance team members: Lou McMahon at 216-367-1407 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Wendlene Lavey at 216-367-1409 or email@example.com; and Erin McDevitt-Frantz at 216-367-1408 or firstname.lastname@example.org.