(BIVN) – U.S. Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele (HI-02) spoke in favor of the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021 on Wednesday, during a meeting of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
Rep. Kahele is a member of the committee. He reports that he “successfully championed a measure to secure $50 million to invest in domestic wastewater systems, prioritizing household cesspools – a rampant problem across rural Hawaiʻi.” The Act would authorize $50 billion in direct infrastructure investment over the next five years to address America’s crumbling wastewater infrastructure and local water quality challenges.
“This grant program will make a significant difference in my home state of Hawaiʻi,” Rep. Kahele said. “Specifically on my home island of Hawaiʻi island. To date there are nearly 90,000 cesspools across the State of Hawaiʻi that discharge 53 million gallons of untreated sewage into the ground, every single day. Just think about that.”
“The current state of Hawaiʻi’s infrastructure and wastewater systems threatens the health of our people, our land and our oceans. We have to act now to modernize our aging infrastructure by scaling up and implementing successful programs particularly in rural areas,” said Congressman Kahele in a news release. “As a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance this bill through Congress and get it to the President’s desk, because investing in Hawaiʻi’s clean water infrastructure can’t wait.”
The bill passed through the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure today and awaits a vote on the House Floor.
Kahele notes that in 2017, the State of Hawaiʻi enacted Act 125 which would prohibit nearly all cesspools throughout the State by the year 2050. “The Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021 renews funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund program – the primary source of federal assistance for wastewater infrastructure construction, to establish a new clean water grant to invest in communities with failing septic systems,” the Kahele news release states. “In addition, this new grant will prioritize funding to communities that lack access to adequate sewage treatment systems.”