U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin
Press Release

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Introduces New Legislation to Accelerate Water Technologies

Wisconsin is leading the development of new solutions

By - Mar 14th, 2016 08:20 am

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today introduced new legislation, the Water Technology Acceleration Act, which would accelerate the development and deployment of water technologies to solve our most pressing water challenges, including lead safety, phosphorous reduction and treatment of bacteria and nitrates.

“The Flint water crisis, where over 8,000 children were poisoned with lead and over 100,000 Americans remain without safe drinking water, is a historic failure of government to invest in protecting a local water supply. However, Flint is not alone; there are many other communities across the United States that face serious challenges. With technological innovation, we could have better solutions to confront water problems,” said Senator Baldwin.

While there are many companies that are developing these technologies, in many cases there is no functioning market for their deployment. Senator Baldwin’s reforms would create a federal role for accelerating the testing, deployment and encouraging the commercialization of technologies, including pipes with smart sensors that can tell you when water is contaminated or when water pressure is dropping. The legislation would also help accelerate technologies to address livestock waste treatment systems, green infrastructure and updated stream gauges, which can help reduce the costs of variety of water problems, such as upgrading water infrastructure and treating manure that runs into surface waters.

“In Wisconsin, we are leading the development of these new solutions. The Water Council and its partners—from our research labs to the many companies in our region—are doing incredible work to find innovative new ways to better test, monitor, treat and deliver water,” said Senator Baldwin. “We need to strongly support this work because their innovation will change how communities respond to water crises, improve public health and help us address water scarcity.”

Senator Baldwin’s Water Technology Acceleration Act

  • Creates the Innovative Water Technology Grant program: These grants would fund public-private partnerships that deploy, test and improve emerging water technologies.  Grants could be used to address water quality issues, such as new real-time sensors that can alert users when tap water is contaminated, improvements to residential filtration technologies that address groundwater contamination and piloting of technologies that treat manure on farms.
  • Supports communities to use innovative technologies to address drinking water challenges: The bill would help communities deploy innovative technologies to address their drinking water challenges. Many communities face threats to the quality of their drinking water sources, and this bill would help them pilot solutions they would not otherwise have the ability to deploy. It would also help them to provide better information to residents, so that families can have certainty every time they turn on the water that the water coming from their tap is safe. The bill would require EPA to evaluate the barriers to greater adoption of updated water technology and provide technical assistance to help communities use new technologies successfully piloted elsewhere.
  • Supports communities to use innovative technologies to address wastewater and storm runoff challenges: The bill would also support communities to pilot new approaches to wastewater treatment and storm runoff. Many communities face enormous costs to updating their systems to meet water treatment requirements. Water technologies can help reduce those costs to ratepayers by focusing investments on new approaches that achieve the same water quality improvements and may have additional benefits to the community and ecosystem. For instance, green infrastructure projects such as rain gardens and porous pavement can reduce the need for additional storm water storage structures, and also result in cleaner water as the storm water is better filtered before it drains into our rivers and lakes. The bill would require EPA to evaluate the barriers to greater adoption of updated water technology and provide technical assistance to help communities use new technologies successfully piloted elsewhere.

“We are using are very old technology and approaches to respond to water issues and I believe we need to support technological innovations that can help us solve the water challenges we face across America in smarter, more effective ways,” said Senator Baldwin.

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