Bipartisan bill would use grant funding to improve waterways

Bipartisan legislation introduced on Thursday by Reps. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.) would institute a grant program to help municipalities and farmers fund projects that improve water quality.

The Impaired Waters Improvement Act would establish a grant program to help fund infrastructure projects that reduce agricultural nutrient runoff that impacts lakes, streams and rivers.

“Our farmers, our communities need help to improve runoff practices and community sewer and wastewater systems,” Reed said. “With this commonsense bill we can give communities at the local level opportunities to improve water quality and infrastructure at no cost to taxpayers. Farmers and communities working hard to meet water quality requirements fairly deserve this help. I’m proud to join with my friend from across the aisle, Rep. Patrick Murphy, on this bill to care for water quality.”

The Impaired Waters Improvement Act would help local communities meet total maximum daily load requirements by providing grant funding for sewer and wastewater systems that reduce agricultural runoff. The grant program would be funded through a fee that is already assessed for violations of the Clean Water Act.

“If we are to improve the health of our waters we need to have an all-of-the-above approach and find creative ways to address these issues,” Murphy said. “Our bill does just that, providing farmers and ranchers with the means to construct innovative water storage projects. Locally, these water farming projects can help clean and store water before it reaches the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon. I look forward to continuing to work with Congressman Reed on this important issue, showing that the health of our environment and the vital role it plays in our economies is not a Democrat or Republican issue, nor a Florida or New York problem.”