Washington, DC – Following a major water main break in Prince George’s County that shut down a portion of the Capital Beltway and disrupted regular work at the Census Bureau headquarters and Andrews Air Force Base, U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), chairman of the Senate Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, renewed calls for reauthorization of the Water Infrastructure Financing Act, which provides foundational funding for our nation’s drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.
“One of our most important priorities is to ensure that all Americans have clean and safe drinking water and that our aging national water infrastructure can handle all that we ask of it. The major water main breaks that have become near epidemic in our region and elsewhere tell us that major parts of the system are too old and too frail to hold together much longer. The breaks are more than an inconvenience, they also can endanger the health and safety of our citizens as well as disrupt economic activity and our national security,” said Senator Cardin.
According to the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC), about 400,000 customers were affected by the break of a 54-inch water main. A Boiled Water Advisory has been issues for the affected region to prevent contamination. Southbound traffic on I-495 was completely blocked for hours during the morning rush hour. Local schools and businesses were forced closed as the water froze thanks to frigid temperatures.
Senator Cardin is the lead author of the Water Infrastructure Financing Act that will make important reforms and increase investment in the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which has not been reauthorized in more than 20 years, and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, which has not been reauthorized in 15 years. Senator Cardin’s bill contains authorizations for funding of projects including storm water management, water conservation, or efficiency projects, reuse and recycling projects. He plans to reintroduce the legislation at a later time in the 112th Congress.