U.S. House, at odds with White House, passes $1.7 billion wastewater bill

The U.S. House made waves yesterday by passing the first of three water-quality bills it will consider this week. Faced with White House disapproval, feisty U.S. reps voted 367-58 to spend $1.7 billion over five years to modernize wastewater systems and stem sewage overflows across the country. The funding would be a drop in the bucket compared to the U.S. EPA’s estimate of a coming $300 billion to $400 billion shortfall in the country’s sadly neglected wastewater treatment infrastructure over the next two decades. “No American should have to walk outside after a storm [and] see sewage in the streets,” said Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.). The White House, no stranger to matters fecal, issued a statement strongly opposing the bill, which now heads to the Senate. Flush with success, the House will move on to consider two other bills: a $125 million Clean Water Act program for alternative water sources, and a $20 billion Clean Water State Revolving Fund for loans that would fight pollution.