Terri Sewell, Doug Jones introduce bill providing grants for wastewater infrastructure

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Sen. Doug Jones (Left) and Rep. Terri Sewell (Right). Photos from commons.wikimedia.org.
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On Tuesday, Feb. 11, Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-7) and Sen. Doug Jones introduced the Decentralized Wastewater Grant Act of 2020, a bill that aims to increase funding for improvements to wastewater systems for rural communities.

Doug Jones commented in an announcement that, in addition to others throughout the country, the bill will benefit people in the Black Belt region, which includes Dallas County.

“In rural communities across the country, including Alabama’s historically underserved Black Belt region, some families lack access to even basic wastewater systems,” he said. “This is a critical public health and safety issue, and we need an all hands on deck approach to solve this crisis.”

The bill that was introduced in the House and Senate would establish a grant program under the Environmental Protection agency to help communities “connect their homes to existing wastewater infrastructure or install or upgrade individually owned decentralized wastewater systems.”

According to Sewell’s announcement, the bill would provide grants to non-profit organizations that would in turn provide sub-grants to those deemed eligible for improvements to their wastewater infrastructure.

“Clean water and adequate wastewater infrastructure are basic human rights that shouldn’t be restricted to only those who can afford them,” Sewell said. “In Alabama and many rural areas across the country, failing septic tanks and inadequate, unsafe wastewater infrastructure are far too common and pose health, economic and environmental risks to our communities.”