The Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act include revolving loan funds to help states finance drinking water purification and sewage treatment facilities—both of which are essential to the country’s public-health infrastructure. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that:
Reductions under sequestration would impact states’ ability to meet drinking water public health standards and to reduce the nitrogen and phosphorus pollution that contaminate drinking water supplies, cause toxic algae blooms, and deprive waters of oxygen that fish need to survive.
This reduction would result in the elimination of more than 100 water quality protection and restoration projects throughout the United States.
Drinking water and wastewater treatment are already underfunded, as are other major infrastructure projects. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that they have capital needs of at least $31.6 billion per year.
Investment in water treatment infrastructure is important because new sources of water are of lower quality. Cities and states have already tapped into the low hanging fruit of high quality water sources and now are looking at lower quality surface water sources or recaliming wastewater. Both types of water require more intensive treatment with technologies like ozone, UV and membranes.