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Commonwealth's Counties

Important water quality funding bill heads to Senate floor

An important water quality bill that will equip localities with an additional tool for wastewater treatment as well as highlight the significant needs for greater funding made it out of committee unscathed and will now be heard on the Senate floor.

HB 1822 (Bulova) allows the Director of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to authorize WQIF grants for the design and installation of certain wastewater conveyance infrastructure.  Current law would prohibit WQIF funding for this conveyance (piping) infrastructure, and instead only the treatment facilities would be eligible for funding to upgrade their systems. This bill provides localities a much more efficient and cost-effective means to accomplish their wastewater treatment goals.

Also of great importance to local governments, HB 1822 directs the DEQ to consult with stakeholders annually to estimate the amount of grant funding that local governments will request during the upcoming year from WQIF and the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund (SLAF) and to submit those estimates to the Governor as part of a biennial funding report and an annual progress report that are required by current law.  This will be an effective way to annually highlight to the General Assembly and Governor’s Office just how great the need for SLAF and WQIF funding is, and how little localities have access to.

HB 1822 initially passed the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee and the House unanimously.  HB 1922 similarly passed out of the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee unanimously and will now be voted on by the Senate.

VACo supports this legislation and has been pleased to speak on behalf of the bill before the committee.

VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.

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