Sign On: Support Letter for Decentralized Wastewater Grant Act of 2019
Please consider signing on to the below letter thanking Senators Booker, Capito, Jones, and Schatz for introducing the "Decentralized Wastewater Grant of 2019." The bill is expected to be introduced the week of Nov. 18.

The deadline to sign on is 3 PM ET on Friday, Nov. 15. If you have questions, please contact Jeni Collins with Earthjustice at


On behalf of our millions of members and supporters, the undersigned groups write to thank Senators Booker (D-NJ), Capito (R-WV), and Jones (D-AL) for introducing the “Decentralized Wastewater Grant Act of 2019.” This legislation is an important first step in providing much-needed assistance to communities across the country that are not connected to public sewer or water systems.

In the US, public sewer systems do not extend to all communities; according to U.S. Census data, more than 1.7 million people in the United States lack access to basic plumbing facilities, with minority and low-income communities bearing the majority of the burden. Without an available sewer line, families must rely on onsite individualized systems (typically a type of septic system) to dispose of wastewater. Much of the time, the burden also falls on the family to maintain and install these systems, which can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $30,000 depending on the system and geography of the area, and require regular maintenance to function properly. A failing onsite system can result in sewage overflow into people’s yards, and even their homes, causing serious public health and water quality concerns, along with degrading quality of life and exacerbating other socioeconomic problems.

The “Decentralized Wastewater Grant Act of 2019”is an important first step in addressing this widespread problem. The bill creates a new grant program under the Clean Water Act to provide funding for low- and moderate-income households, through a qualified nonprofit, to address these wastewater challenges. The bill is flexible in allowing solutions that best fit the needs of the household, geography, and community by allowing grants to be used for the construction, repair, or replacement of a decentralized wastewater system, connection to a publicly owned treatment works, or the installation of a larger decentralized wastewater system that can provide treatment to two or more households. Further, households without access to functioning wastewater systems are prioritized for receiving funding under this bill.

This important piece of legislation is vital to addressing the substantial infrastructure needs of communities not served by public water or wastewater and we thank Senators Booker, Jones, and Capito for their leadership in introducing the bill and hope to see it become law.

Thank you for your consideration.


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