Skip to main content

tv   Hearing Focuses on Water Systems Improvements  CSPAN  May 20, 2017 3:01am-4:48am EDT

3:01 am
coming up saturday morning, military times pentagon bureau chief, andrew degrandpre discusses the fight against isis. then social for advancement of science ceo rush holt will join us to talk about advisory boards under the trump administration's epa. and a discussion concerning how the u.s. education system has left gifted children and their parents behind. be sure to watch c-span's washington journal, live at 7:00 a.m. eastern. water systems across the country testified at a house hearing about federal funding for infrastructure to provide clean drinking water and treat wastewater. this house energy and commerce
3:02 am
subcommittee meeting is 1:45. i'd hilike to call the meetg to order. i would like to thank our witnesses. first of all, it's early. one thing that's true about washington, d.c. there's uncertainty around us. because of other meetings scheduled and planned we asked for you to come early, and i do appreciate it. and it shows you in the interest of our colleagues, that they're here this early. so that's great. no matter -- first of all, we've got folks from as far away as alaska and close as pennsylvania. no matter how many miles you've traveled to be with us, we're grateful for the time and financial sacrifice you're making to share your expertise today. i want to mention that even though they did not send someone to present oral testimony, i appreciate the environmental protection agency providing us
3:03 am
with written statement to include in our hearing record. i ask that unanimous consent, without object, ion so ordered. the agency has agreed to take written questions for our hearing. this is highly unusual but an essential step to making this hearing record as accurate as possible. and we consider the technical experience and input critical to the quality of our work. i now recognize myself for five minutes for giving an opening statement. our panel looks broadly at the nation's drinking water and what's necessary for the federal government to do in the way of planning and technical investment and support to meet future needs. the draft is meant to build on the testimony from our last hearing to help our subcommittee think more precisely about what items should be prioritized for legislation and how they should be addressed in the legislation. importantly, the discussion
3:04 am
draft is not a few finite universe. it is an invitation forr alternative approaches. i now some are curious why provision or another is not added. i hope we can talk about those things today. i suspect we might be able to find agreement on some of those issues after we've had some time to find out each other's objectives and reflect on the best way to balance the needs of water, consumers, providers and program equipme program implementers. let me take a minute to explain why they are there. the water utility groups that testified at the last hearing talked about the importance of partnerships for addressing growth and compliance issues. the discussion draft proposes language to allow contractual
3:05 am
arrangements to get a water system under compliance. many mentioned the important role that assmanagement can pla. the discussion draft has states consider how to encourage best practices and asset management and has epa update technical material and training materials on asset management. we seek testimony to further aid disadvantaged communities. the discussion draft increases the amount a state can dedicate to disadvantaged communities, 35% of their annual capitalization grant to extend loan payments for these communities by another ten years. we received testimony on the need to increase funding for the drinking water state revolving loan fund and the public water system supervision grant, but not specific recommendations about a realistic number is or whether commensurate budget air
3:06 am
e airy -- leaves them blank to allow a greater and more specific conversation to occur. this will not be easy. some of these conversations will be very difficult, but we will have to have them in an open and honest manner. but that is not new. anyone who has been around our subcommittee for a while knows we have a reputation for tackling challenging issues. as i said earlier, we are at the beginning of this journey with a discussion draft as a baseline, and we are not close to the finish line as of yet. with that is correct i yield back my remaining time and yield to my friend from new york, the ranking member, mr. tongsical. >> thank you for being here on a busy morning in the house. aging infrastructure systems can threaten growth and public health. i know we have limited time, so i will not restate all the details of our growing national
3:07 am
need to invest in drinking water systems and update the safe drinking water act. suffice it to say, the need is immensely great. the subcommittee has been building a tremendous record that more than justifies the need for action. mr. chair, appreciate you holding this hearing, and offering the discussion draft to bring attention to our hidden infrastructure, which has been out of sight and regrettably, out of mind for far too long. this draft responds to many of the issues that have been identified in previous hearings, the need to reauthorize the drinking water srf and the public drinking water supervision program as well as asset management plans, greater water-source protection and support for disadvantaged communities. with that said, i drtruly belie we can improve upon the draft before us today, which will entour strong, bipartisan support moving forward. there are a number of democratic bills that have already been introduced that can help inform
3:08 am
these efforts. the aqua act includes provisions on how to further assist disadvantaged communities. it would also helpful fill a stated goal of this administration, mandating buy american requirements. mr. pallone's sidwa, mr. peters has a bill to provide grants to assist systems with resiliency, source-water protection and security in the face of changing hydraulic conditions. such as droughts, sea level rise and other emerging pressures on systems. we do know the national need is growing. $384 billion over the next two decades to maintain current levels of services. we need to have the vision to acknowledge that this does not account for stresses,
3:09 am
environmental and financial that will continue to get worse if we is simply do nothing. finally, the drinking water srf has been a tremendous success. i'm grateful that share shim kiss -- but as we will hear today, the draft includes unspecified funding levels. as a candidate, president trump called for tripling funding for both srf programs, the aqua act poe poses levels that are in line with that, with what states handled following the recovery act. i think these are good targets to start negotiations. we must recognize that local governments are struggling. significant amounts of projects go unfunded each year and the status quo of federal support will simply not reduce the massive and growing levels of need. excuse me. it is time for the federal government to step up and contribute its fair share. mr. chair, i would end by asking for a commitment to sit down
3:10 am
with our side, learn more about some of our proposals and work together to make this a truly bipartisan effort that moves us forward. we who close cooperation on the brownfield rethoration draft. i think we can get to a similar place on drinking water. with that i yield back. >> the chair recognizes mr. walden. >> in january we began a review. we spoke about all things that could affect water available and safety. today we take the next steps by reviewing a discussion daft and related ideas from stakeholders to formulate policy on drinking water, state-revolving loan funding and supervision grants. we'll also examine efforts to improve asset management by utilities and other ways to lift paperwork burdens and improve safe drinking water.
3:11 am
both sides of the aisle support making newer and larger investments in our nation's infrastructure. and i agree we need to help ensure these assets help support the great quality of life americans enjoy. houg however in doing so, we must make wise investments for states and consumers. it's important for us to tackle this job seriously it for a couple of reasons. as we learned at the last hearing, the country's drinking water delivery systems are facing the challenges of older age. we learn from the wat er utilities about growth issues. it proposes language to allow contractual agreements to get a water system under compliance. we welcome feed back on that
3:12 am
approach. not specific recommendations about what a realistic number is or whether budgetary kwut alcut support this. the revolving loan fund was last authorized in 2003. that's long enough. it's time to reassert this committee's proper role in authorizing our statutes and realign the focus of the epa and other agencies back to their core missions. in this case, ensuring safe drinking water for our nation's consumers. we look forward to continuing the dialog on this as our committee process continues. i want to welcome all of you here today. our witnesses who took time and travelled from far and wide to be with us to comment on this discussion draft. and that's what it is. your input is important and we would appreciate specific recommendations as you are able to give on these important issues. again, thank you all for being here. we all care deeply about drinking water, safe drinking water and helping our
3:13 am
communities achieve that for all of our citizens in the country, and with that, mr. chair, i yield back the balance of my time. >> chair now recognizes the ranking member of the full committee, mr. pallone. >> thank you, mr. chairman, thank you. the safety of our drinking water is an incredibly important topic which deserves more time than we have at today's hearing. at our last hearing we heard about the resolving fund and increasing the funding. my democratic colleagues have been saying this for years, so i'm encouraged that republicans on this subcommittee now seem to agree. unfortunately, this rushed hearing is not sufficient to address this issue. we have great ideas, but they're not reflected in the bare-bones discussion draft. we need a bipartisan effort to modernize the safety drinking water act, but in preparing this discussion draft, your staff didn't consult with us. we were eager to work with you, but we were told without smanation that such discussions
3:14 am
could only happen after this hearing. so it fails to measure up to this severe problem. it does not meet the needs of public water systems. it does nothing to improve the regulatory process and better protect public health from new and emerging pollutant classes and does nothing to improve transparency and restore consumer confidence in the safety of our tap water and no commitment to increase funding. so i am disappointed in the funding draft. and i urge them to look at hr 1071. the aqua act of 2017. and hr 1068. i want to thank our witnesses for coming and apologize that we don't have more time available but i also want to express my frustration at the lack of a witness from the epa. this subcommittee cannot produce
3:15 am
meaningful legislation to reauthorize the state revolving fund without their input. so it's clear we need to have another hearing. safe drinking water is simply too important, and i hope we can start to work together on a bipartisan bill to tackle these serious problems. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> gentleman yields back his time. all members having concluded their opening statements, the chair would like to remind members that pursuant to committee rules all opening statements will be made part of the record. i want to thank all of our witnesses for being here today and taking the time to testify before the subcommit e today's witnesses will have the opportunity to give opening statements, our witness panels for today's hearing are in front of us. what i'll do is recognize you individually for five minutes. your full statements submitted for the record and as you can see, there's a lot of interest in our side. so if you get too far over the five minutes, i might start
3:16 am
tapping the gavel to get you to wiped up. and before i take more time, let me start by recognizing the ceo of the california water services group. on behalf of the national association of water companies you testified here before. you're recognized for five mens. >> thank you, mr. chairman. good morning. i'm marty kropelniki. we provide water to 2 million people in california, and washington. i'm the president of the national association of water companies. our members have provided water services for more than 200 years and today serve approximately 25% of the u.s. population. nawc applauds you. am putting forward a discussion
3:17 am
draft amendment. we are all working together towards the same outcome, safe, reliable, sustainable, high-quality drinking water which is critical to every person, every community and every business in this country. suffice to say, that substantial portions of the utility sector face significant challenges. the nation's drinking water infrastructure recently received a "d" by the american society of civil engineers. they project that $1 trillion will be needed to invest in flux through 2035. to keep up with population growth. more honestly, recent reports by the national resources events council shows that one fourth of people get water from untested and unchallenged systems. there's a discussion draft put forward as a good first step to addre addressing the crisis. it will do much to build upon
3:18 am
and advance the good work many have already undertaken. it is estimated that our six largest members of which cal water is one, will haven't nearly $2.7 billion this year alone to make sure their water systems are safe, reliable for decades to come. government standards alone will not focix this problem. let me highlight for you several recommendations for congress to consider. first, we must ensure that any federal funds are used efficiently and effectively. nawc and its members support the epa's ten attributes which include things such as financial viability and infrastructure stability. applicants for dollars should demonstrate that they are managing their assets, adequate repair and replacement are fully implemented, including water
3:19 am
rates that reflect the true and full cost of service. second, billing systems that are in noncompliance situations must be held accountable. if a system is plagued with a history of serious non-compliance, it should be given an option to a partnership or compelled to consolidate with an able owner or operator. finally, as congress considers future funding for drinking water programs, nawc recommends that the private water sector not only have equal access to water funding but that steps be taken to enable private water -- apart from the more obvious tax base measures these should include a save harbor or a shield that would allow companies to partner with undercompliant systems and give them ramp up time to come into compliance. quite simply, they have the financial balance sheets,
3:20 am
managerial ability. i sincerely appreciate the opportunity to come back here to testify along with my colleagues at nawc, we look forward to our work with you on this committee as we work on the nation's infrastructure challenges. thank you and i'll be happy to respond to any questions mr. chairman. >> the chair recognizes mr. scott potter of the nashville metro water services, nashville, tennessee. recognized for five mipnutes. >> the association of metropolitan water agencies appreciates the opportunity to offer our thoughts today on the drinking water act of 2017. i'm scott potter. we provide drinking water services to 190,000 households and 200,000 sewer accounts in nashville and davidson county.
3:21 am
i also serve on the board of directors, represent being ting large largest companies that serve 130 million americans. we appreciate that the legislation before the subcommittee today would do so for the thirfirst time in the program's history. my written testimony for the record includes more detailed feedback. i'll use my time to speak more generally about the bill and amwa. we believe that the drinking water is a vital program that should remain a cornerstone to promote cost-productive water and meet requirements of the safe drenchiinking water act. we are pleased that it preserves the existing framework while making several targeted modern
3:22 am
provisions on the safe drinking water act as a whole. as an example. it will leverage, to help identify water quality violations and carry out necessary management and administrative functions. they recognize the importance of asset management by recognizing steps they will take. and how they will assist local utilities to train their staff. we support these measures, though amwa also believes that utilities have that qualifying plans should be rewarded with a decr degree of additional preference. the idea is not to make the plans mandatory or to exclude systems without asset plans but to incentivize them to think holistically about the full life cycle costs of their
3:23 am
infrastructure. as this legislation continues to develop, amwa would like to recommend several points. to reauthorize at a level that recognizes the i mmense nationwide drinking water need and appropriately responds to these needs. for example, initial versions would have provided more than $1 billion for the drinking water srf. given the infrastructure needs and the apparent willingness of appropriators for this program, they should authorize the funding level comfortably in excess of this figure. earlier this year, amwa and others endorsed a call to double funding to roughly $1.8 billion. so a figure in this vicinity would serve as a reasonable starting point for the new authorization level.
3:24 am
amwa also supports expanding the it definition of a disadvantaged community eligible for additional assistance to include a portion of a utility service area. the statute currently requires all of the criteria to be met. but this is difficult for those that serve diverse populations with areas of affluence and areas of pop haitiaulations in . more individual in-need neighborhoods served by america's large water providers would become eligible for the same type of benefits that are already available to many small cities and towns throughout the country. finally, we support codifying the ability recipients to use drinking water srf funds to improve the public security of a water system. congress explicitily allowed us
3:25 am
of funds for publicly-owned works. in closing, amwa believes this legislation is a good starting point for efforts to reauthorize the drinking water srf. we look forward to working with the committees on this subcommittee on this legislation and i'll be happy to answer any questions the subcommittee have. >> now i'd like to recognize steve fletcher, nashville, illinois in the great state of illinois and in the great district of the 15th congressional district of illinois. on behalf of the, who represents that? i don't know. the national association of water, national rural water association. you guys got me off my game. you're recognized for five minutes. >> good morning. i'm steve fletcher from rural illinois in washington county.
3:26 am
rural illinois, new york and the rest of america thank you for this opportunity to testify about drinking water infrastructure. thank you congressman shimkis and tomko. i also need to thank congressman harper and the subcommittee for passing the grassroots rural and small community technical assistance act into law in the last congress. i am representing all small rural water, i'm sorry, small and community rural water supplies through my association with the illinois and national rural water associations. our member communities have a responsibility of supplying the public with safe drinking water and sanitation every second of every day. most all water supplies in the ou u.s. are small. 92% of the 50,366 suppliers
3:27 am
supply communities of less than 10,000 people. new york has 2,343. and 2,195 of those serve communities of less than 10,000 people. my water system is a not-for-profit water system started by a group of farmers in the late 1980s who organized and built the system using funding from the federal government that allowed these mainly farm families to receive safe, piped drinking water for the first time. without the financial help from the federal government we could never have afforded to have safe public water or even a public water utility. before the development of the rural water systems, rural households including mine relied on private wells that were contaminated with nitrates, so we couldn't drink the water. we are pleased to endorse the
3:28 am
act of 2017. small and rural communities support the use of these existing federal infrastructure initiatives like the srfs as a primary delivery system for new initiatives. these initiatives all have specific provisions targeting federal water subsidies to public projects based on environmental and economic needs. some type of needs-base targeting is not included in any legislature, the funding will bypass rural america and be absorbed by large metropolitan projects. commonly low-income communities do not have the ability to pay back a loan, even with very low interest rate the and require some portion of grant funding to ma make a project affordable to the
3:29 am
ratepayers. i would like to make two more policy points with my remaining time. first, there's a misconception among stakeholders that srfs are for small and rural communities. they have no limitation on size or cope ofscope of a water proj. according to epa. most of it is to large communities. 62% is ordered to large communities, including numerous srf projects that cost over 50 million or $100 million. the srfs work for all-sized water systems and we're grateful for your support of the programs. my final point is regarding choice in privatization. the decision for any local government to privatize or consolidate should be determined at the discretion of local citizens. there's nothing more efficient
3:30 am
or economic cal. regarding consolidation, rural water associations and systems like mine have assisted in more communities consolidating their programs than any other organization. again, when communities believe consolidation will benefit them, they eagerly agree with these partnerships. i have numerous examples from my own community which partners with six neighboring utilities in various forms. we do not think any new federal regular la t regulatory policy would be beneficial to local communities and their citizens. thank you mr. shimkis for being such a good friend and i'm happy to answer any questions. >> now i'd like to turn to ms. lisa daniels, director of the bureau of safe drinking water at the department of environmental
3:31 am
protection in pennsylvania. you're recognized for five minutes. >> good morning chairman shimkis. ranking member tomko. thank you for the opportunity to be here to discuss the status of our nation's state drinking water programs. i'm also president-elect for aswa. so i'm happy to be here to represent the organization. our members are opt fron the fr lea lines every day ensuring safe water. they all depend on a safe and adequate supply of drinking water. states oversee more than 152,000 public water systems and interact with them through a broad range of activities that are funded through two federal sources. the state revolving loan fund but the public water supervision program. the vast majority of community water systems are in compliance with health-based standards.
3:32 am
that's the good news. but what about those systems that struggle? the drinking water srf can provide solutions for struggling systems. at only 20 years old, it real shrireally is a success story. we rehabilitate systems, address the aging infrastructure and it's been quite successful. states have been able to leverage federal funding to find more than 13,000 projects through the srf. a major component of the '96 amendments was new stat tor eut language, proactive measures such as operator training, technical assistance and source-water protection offer support for water systems as they strife to enhance their performance. they consider a range of options, including partnerships
3:33 am
which could be as simple as sharing a backhoe or as complex as merging with a neighboring system and the satisfied funds are able to support these activities. the stockton system was a 43 home community that was operating as an untreated and n unfiltered system. we discovered this because of customer complaints. it was found to contain e. coli and salmonella. they really needed a different kind of assistance. we employed several capability enhancement programs in stockton, including capability enhancement program, which provided the nesinitial assessm and provided technical assistance to really help folks understand the challenges with this community. we also employed the professional engineering services program, which was able
3:34 am
to conduct feasibility study e the -- studies and design work. these came together with our srf funding agency to identify a willing partner, and we found that in the nearby hazelton city authority system. they agreed to work with stockton, make the drinking water srf application, extend water service, replace stockton's existing distribution system while keeping water rates at an affordable $35 per month. the total project cost was $2.22 milli $2.2 million which was underwritten been penn-vest. this would not be possible without the srf and the set asides. drinking water systems and the communities they serve are the direct beneficiaries. they have often been expected to
3:35 am
do more with less and we've always responded with commitment and integrity, but we are currently stretched to the breaking point. insufficient federal funds increase the likelihood of contamination incidents, and we do not want to see another charleston, west virginia or flint, michigan. to sustain be lick healpublic pe need support. the srf funding has decreased. these essential programs come with well-documented needs, and they must be fully supported. aswa recommends the program be funded at $200 million and we recommend the srf be funded at $1.2 billion that allows us to continue to do this great work. in summary, the '96 amendments offered the community a promise of enhanced public health protection through a framework of collateral and collaboration
3:36 am
between state programs and the water systems that they oversee. maintaining the funding for the srf is critical. state drinking water programs are committed to fulfilling the promise of the '96 amendments. thank you. >> the chair now recognizes mr. curt voss, the longest-traveling award, from anchorage water. welcome. >> good morning. my name is curt voss. i am the special projects director for the anchorage water utility from anchorage, alaska. i also serve for drinking water providers. the discussion draft of drinking
3:37 am
water legislation, the subcommittee is considering is a good step towards addressing the nation's needs, reinvestments. and towards addressing other needs as well. i would like to briefly address three topics. first, providing safe drinking water to communities requires a complex mix of engineering, capital investment, management, science, community engagement and regulatory resources. this complexity makes it particularly difficult for many small systems to remain in compliance and regulation and maintain their infrastructure. options to help address these challenges include partnerships or regionalization to share resources among these systems, many who serve small systems and communities. regionalization or partnerships encompass anything from physical connections to shared management, engineering,
3:38 am
operations and purchasing resources. when a compliant utility absorbs or merges with a non-compliant utility they face a challenge the sdwa ought to provide a few night grace period for the newly-merged system to come into compliance with regulation. whether a utility has explored consolidation should be one of the factors weighted in ranking loans or evaluating compliance options. secondly, all utilities manage their assets. but the practice we now formally call asset management is more scientific and focussed. the goal of infrastructure asset management is to meet a required level of service in the most cost-effective manner at an acceptable level of risk through the management of assets for present and future customers. we do not believe a specific
3:39 am
level of asset management practice should be mandated of because that would put congress or a regular tory agency in the business of defining objectives. utilities vary too greatly in strategic objective, climate source-waters, type of treatment and distribution for a federal definition to be practical. professional organizations such as awwa are making education and asset management practice an ongoing part of our educational efforts for members. for example, awwa's upcoming conference, our asset management committee has developed a track of sessions on asset management with five individual sessions containing 27 separate presentations. we also believe there's a role the states can play in similar efforts through the maintenance of the pwss supervision grants. we urge congress to maintain
3:40 am
pwss funding at no less the current authorization level. third, as weigh ha have said beo congress, local rates and charges have been and will likely always be the backbone of water system finance. however, when major infrastructure projects are required, either to comply with regulations or replace aging infrastructure, there's a need for a quicker, larger infusion of cash than those rates and charges typically provide. this is where the toolbox of utility finance comes into play. this spring, awwa cosigned a two-page summary of how the federal government can assist water utilities in financing these challenges. the highlights of that were, number one, preserve the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds. two, provide fully-authorized funding for the water infrastructure finance and
3:41 am
innovation act. that's $45 million for fiscal year 2018. three, double appropriations for the drinking water and wastewater srf program. and four, remove the annual volume cap on private activity bonds, the water infrastructure projects. we realize appropriations come from the appropriations committees, but we seek your support and funding with these panels. this concludes my remarks to the subcommittee. we also look forward to continuing dialog with this panel after this hearing. >> the chair now recognizes lynn thorpe. recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. good morning. my name is lynn thorp. i'm national campaigns director at clean water action, a national organization with 1 million members working in 15
3:42 am
states on health and environmental projects with an emphasis on drinking water issues. thank you for the opportunity to provide comments on the drinking water system improvement act. recent high-profile events have highlighted system operations and source-water protection. from the drinking water crisis in flint, michigan to the leaking chemical storage tank that contaminated the elk river in west virginia, we've seen how taking water for granted can lead to public health risks and interruption of the entire community. our approach to 21st centry challenges is a holistic one. it should also have resources for effective oversight of safe drinking water compliance with federal and state partners, more research for innovation, more attention to keeping drinking water-sources clean and a vision for how we want our drinking
3:43 am
water systems to hook look in t second half of the 21st century. you can see some ideas about that from the testimony we've heard from the witnesses already this morning. and in the 2016 u.s. environmental protection agency drinking water action plan. we do hope the subcommittee will consider provisions in the amendment of 2017, hr 1067, represented by tomko earlier this year. how we decide which contaminates to regulate, from oil and gas and other activities. water efficiency, and technology innovation are all important if we are to maintain a high quality of drinking water and healthy water system. we support drinking water state resolving fund authorizations commensurate with those proposed in the aqua act mentioned earlier today, which would authorize over 3 billion in
3:44 am
fiscal 2018 and increase, reaching $5.5 billion in fiscal 2022. awwa, the american association of civil engineers have repeatedly found things greater. it signals a commitment to clean drinking water and are a reasonable contribution to the mix of funding sources available to drinking water systems. we also support increased authorization for public water system supervision grants, the association of state drinking water administrators has identify the gap in need and funding to be $300 million or more annually. as noted earlier, bridging this gap will increase public health protection and promote sustainable drinking water systems. drinking water state revolving fund dollars can be spence on
3:45 am
numerous activities that support those goals. treatment upgrades. improvements for storage, and system restructuring and consolidation. we want to highlight just two of those here as examples. pipe repair and replacement and source-water protection. as you know, epa stinestimates may have some 6.5 million or 10 million lead service lines or partial lead service lines. it is highly dangerous and children under 6 are more at risk. american society of civil engineers also estimates there are over 240,000 water main breaks each year due to deteriorating and poorly-maintained pipes. as you probably know just this week, a pipe from 1860, a water main broke right in northwest d.c. we lose water through leaks in
3:46 am
mains and service lines as well and these disruptions threaten public health, allowing pathogens to get into the pipes and lead to loss of treated water, some experts say up to 18% of treated water, which is a valuable commodity if you will. so shoring up our underground drinking water infrastructure not only protects public health, but it also leads to less disruption like we saw in parts of d.c. just this week. we can also use drinking water state revolving funds for presenti prese protecting. epa estimates that every dollar spent on protecting a drinking water site saves $27 in drinking water treatment. epa is fundamental to state
3:47 am
programs in water systems. so the investment won't be as effective if at the same time epa lacks staffing and funding for oversight, enforcement, research, development of contaminate standards, support for small systems and other critical actives. we urge subcommittee members to oppose cuts in the epa funding as well as roll backs in health and environmental protections that would put our nation's drinking water sources at risk of contamination, thank you for the opportunity to provide these comments. >> thank you. chair now recognizes mr. james proctor of mcwayne. recognized for five minutes. >> chairman shimkis, ranking member tomko. good morning. i'm jim proctor from mcwayne in birmingham, alabama, and i greatly appreciate the opportunity to be here to testify about an issue that's so vital to our nation's health and
3:48 am
security. for almost 200 years, mcwane has provided pipe, fittings and related products to transport clean water to homes across the country. we employ more than 6,000 team members. most are represented by the united steelworkers who we consider as part ners in our efforts to improve our economy and our community. i'm pleased that the committee is considering efforts to modernize the state revolving fund. it has played a key role in delivering to communities throughout the nation. the committee is recognizing it needs reform to make it more up responsive to the scale of the needs. a vital component is the consistent annual authorization level to spur increased capital
3:49 am
investment. this investment will create and preserve the highway jobs and make american products more competitive. these impacts have a multiplier effect as they ripple through supply chains. we need to invest those dollars wisely. we should rebuild with the most durable, energy-efficient and safe materials available. smart technology offers many innovative systems. with increased funding and better management, they do little good if it's on foreign i am we have made investments to modernize our operations to exceed the most rigorous environmental standard. we must compete against state owned foundries that did not
3:50 am
operate via any comparable regulatory standard and have little regard for workplace safety or the environment. this creates significant disadvantaged leading to lost sales, closed plants and lost jobs. and as the industry disappears, the communities lose the tax revenues and rate payers to maintain their water system. but we cannot continue to divorce the policies. the same government that taxes our workers can use the tax dollars to purchase domestic products for the nation's infrastructure particularly when foreign alternatives are produced in conditions that would make members of this esteemed body cringe. fortunately it has been mitigated by american preference for the srf program. our america has created
3:51 am
incentives to increase production kpas 'tis in the united states. i can say with pride and relief that this buy american preference has saved at least one of our plants and preserved hundreds of our plants in economic depressed areas. in 2008 our water works plant in alabama was the last surviving manufacturer of these products it at one time there were as many as a dozen of the plants but full prey to the unfair conditions. because of buy american, that plant has increased its capacity utilization to almost 70%, added product offerings and more than doubled the numbers of jobs. the other plants have seen similar benefits. but the impacts are not limited to our operations.
3:52 am
the primary importer of water works fittings recently purchasing a domestic production facility and restoring hundreds of american jobs while increasing competition in the market. in 2014, congress codified the buy american srf and has been added to the american drinking water srf. congress should align the two with other federal infrastructure programs like transportation by making it permanent. it will increase the efficiency and reduce cost which many water projects tap into funding sources. the reauthorization of the state drinking water act with the buy american preference are crucial to our nation's health and prosperity. we are honored to have the
3:53 am
opportunity to contribute to that process. thank you very much. >> i thank you all for your testimony and will move into the question and answer portion of the hearing. i will begin and then go to mrs. fletcher first. it's challenging for small communities to go through the application process? >> very much so, congressman. >> what would you recommend a process of stream lining or the challenges, what could we do to make it easier? >> i believe that we have a system that the rider program for each state. the circuit riders have the knowledge to go to these small systems and help them through the process. >> your testimony calls for stream lining the srf application process. what does that include for you? and hit your microphone button
3:54 am
there. >> mr. chair we support efforts to reduce the burden on regulation and the application process itself, we think that the epa and do amongst its regions the developling best practices that can be applied to all of the regions to stream line the application processes, themselves. we believe secondarily, the ability to do the applications themselves rely on certain forms and certain procedures that the agency could streamline. those procedures themselves go to the issue of buy america provisions. they go to the issues of fracking minority and women owned business projects. we would like to see
3:55 am
streamlining done in those two areas. >> anyone else on the panel like to comment on the possibility of streamlining process application process for srf. if you have -- ms. daniels? >> if i could just add, we've heard from applicants that they much prefer the program because it is much more streamlined and it can give the applicant up front information sooner for what they might be eligible for and it helps them move forward and design the project that fits sort of their understanding of funding. if our program could figure out a way to do a letter of intent to get the financial information up front because that is what you generally use. that would give folks up front information to move forward and finish the state application.
3:56 am
>> i know. and -- what is the burden? you mentioned burden. >> so the burden for completing the application? >> well, i mean, it's substantial for small systems. in some cases they're just not capable of completing it. one of the assistance programs, we do provide assistance so if a community needs help completing the applications we will work with them to the that. >> and i agree being from rural america, our u.s. ability for rural water co-ops has been very, very helpful. going back to the -- are there other reasonable steps that can be taken to simplify the process that you can think of? >> i think really if we can come
3:57 am
up with an up front screening process, an up front letter of intent. so in pennsylvania before they can submit an application they have to have the project designed and all of the permits in place. there's a lot of expense that goes into getting to that point and we don't know yet then what they might qualify for or what rates they might be looking at. >> we have heard a lot on disadvantaged communities. are you comfortable with the safe drinking water act regarding the amount you can spend and the debt you can forgive? >> we really are. keeping the language of uphill gives the states the flexibility. in a given year if we have a lot of projects we can fund those. in other years that we don't we don't have to set the funding aside we can use it for other projects. >> i yield back my time and
3:58 am
recognize -- for five minutes. >> thank you. many of the organizations represented today testified earlier and everyone agreed that more funding was needed for the drinking water srf. it was initially at $1 billion in 1996 and i don't think that would meet our nation's needs since we have seen the need grow significantly during this time period. my question to everyone on the panel do you support sustained increased funding for the srf relative to the historic values -- levels? >> yes. we do. >> i'd like to address the fact that the drinking water industry is a jobs program waiting to happen. we can put a lot of people to work in a hurry. the level of funding congress can appropriate really can't be enough. we can put people to work and
3:59 am
keep the dollars in the united states. we have used mcwane pipe, good pipe. everything about the project is good for us. >> thank you. can we continue across the board? >> in the increased funding for small communities would be appreciated. >> ms. daniels? >> support funding of $1 billion that is not the same as the double or triple numbers you are hearing from other folks. we have to understand that state staffing levels are what they are right now based on the historical funding. states would have a difficult time quickly -- to be able to move two or three times the amount of funding. what states may need is more moderate increases over a longer period of time and predictability that those funding levels will continue. that's what the states need to
4:00 am
be confident to increase staffing levels. >> and i think it reflects that in its language. >> as we indicated in our testimony, the doubles of srf and we believe a sustained effort is necessary. we do recognize that states do have a match to the srf. so along with the increased funding -- at the federal level is a requirement that the states have to match it. >> as i mention we support significant increases in the state revolving fund. recognized there are complications in that it's not the only solution to the drinking water challenges but it is certainly a much-needed piece of the puzzle. >> absolutely. as has been noted previously. there's an estimated trillion
4:01 am
dollar need to fix our nation einfrastructure. but highways, airports and things like that get more attention but the need is just as critical for water. if there is a pothole on the highway i'm sure you get a phone call from a constituent. but with water. although 20% is leaking into the ground these days, it's out of sight, out of mind. but we can live without roads. we can't live without water. >> thank you. >> there are disadvantaged systems that need extra assistance and this has good ideas but there are additional things we can do to support them. can you expand why it's important to expand the definition of disadvantaged community? >> yes, sir, fundamentally, we're a large system. we have 190,000 water accounts. we have areas that metro water services that are affluent and
4:02 am
areas that are economically disadvantaged. if we do not expand the definition we would no have the addition additional subsidation. we would not have it if the definition is not expanded. we would request it be done so. >> are being more widely accepted and i do understand the concerns about -- but also believe more could be done when encourage utilities. you see a benefit to having systems finances projects that focus on the long-term sustainability of their systems? >> yes, and we do believe -- i mean, the encouragement of every utility doing a project of that nation to consider the life
4:03 am
cycle cost associated with that to factor that into the decision making on what is the right solution for that particular project. >> asset management is a good thing. recognizing that some utilities will have staffing more available than a small system. a good example is a pump. if you take a new one out of the box and install it and do vibration analysis over the life cycle it is going to last longer. if you don't do that, it's going to cost more. and those availables will not be available. it's a good idea and some utilities will have higher examples. >> thank you and i yield back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. one of the proposed srf
4:04 am
enhancements that you discussed in your testimony was having flexibility in repayment terms for the srf loans. why is that flexibility needed and do you support the provision in the discussion draft for disadvantaged communities from 30 years to 40 years? >> mr. walden, we do support the issue of extending the terms to disadvantaged communities and essentially it's an issue of when you think about when you take out a loan for a home or other things, those are long-lived assets. to be able to extend the terms out to not exceed the useful life of the assets that are being funded through the srf, that is an appropriate way to help communities who need to extend out the terms to be able to afford loans. >> all right. and today's discussion draft
4:05 am
removes federal reporting requirements on federal funding if the state or local are equivalent to the federal requirement. what effect would this provision have and would it be as beneficial as some of us think it would be and do you support it? >> we do support that concept. and it does help in facilitate the ability of the loan res recipient to be able to ease the administrative burden of a project. when utilities go through being able to show that an equal or more stringent requirement exists at the state level. >> and is there something we should do in terms of prioritization or should we stay out of that and by that i mean when we identify in the country, let's say lead in the pipe or arsenic in water or something,
4:06 am
should we be thinking about a way or maybe it is already there, to target, you know, support communities to deal specifically with those issues as opposed to just the leaky water system or something of that nature? >> every state that acts as the prime agency for is. rf funds has their own set of chiropractor tear yeah they use to priortize projects. and therefore most of the moneys that the projects go to those with the highest priority to protect public health. >> and the several billion dollar question how do we pay for all of this. the local level, in the water bill i pay for it. at the federal level we throw a number on a piece of paper we
4:07 am
borrow it or find it somewhere. are there any programs that you could tell us that they are not working and we should move money from them to this? any ideas how to pay for this at the federal level other than giving our kids and grandkids the due bill later in their life? >> the short answer is the newly created program is a great example where the burden on the federal treasury is demin must. it is a loan program and those who are in receipt of the loans really are paying back to the federal treasury and the effect is very, very minor. >> anybody else on the panel want to tackle the funding issue other than being recipients of the funding? >> would the chairman yield? >> of course. >> someone -- under the wifia
4:08 am
which is part of the discussion too, it's my understanding for small communities the environments are so large that they can't apply. in fact no loans have been made out of the program yet. am i correct? or someone tell me about what they have done with the wifia. >> we think it is in addition to srf. we think they are complementary and should have equal funding attention. >> but to his point and i represent eastern oregon, not as big as alaska but we have a lot of these tiny communities. >> but you are a broadcaster in alaska. >> that is true. but my point is it's not a huge water department. it's a mayor or somebody. but what we want to do is how do we streamline this and put the money in the pipe and the ground and the water system and not in the paperwork and the reporting
4:09 am
and all that. that's what we we are trying to get to here. >> mr. walden, with respect to the wifia program, for example, the project size that is eligible for a $5 million project, states also can apply for wifia loans and they can bundle projects together from small communities to help facilitate that and that program. the ability of the small communities to administrator an srf program, that question, i think the ideas that we talked about of streamlining some of the paperwork exercising and having best practices use but more importantly the idea of being able to demonstration the ability to use state regulations
4:10 am
to avoid the issues of the cross cutting requirements at the federal level all try to streamline that effort. >> the chair recognizes the ranking member for five minutes. >> we've seen numerous serious problems in the drinking water act. the biggest challenge is the lack of funds but i want to touch on a few others. does the discussion draft before us fix the weaknesses in the standard setting process under the safe drinking water act? >> the discussion draft as i read it didn't address any of the con tam innocent -- con --
4:11 am
>> and that's why my bill would create a new program to ensure source water protection. does the discussion draft before us do enough to protect source water in your upon? >> if i recall the discussion draft did allow for set asides in state revolving fund moneys to do source water protection plans and to update those systems and states. we think that's a good idea. we think there is some creativity and innovation that needs to be a part as we look at the future of the safe drinking water act which as currently written doesn't do much to protect source water or reinforce current statutes and regulations. interesting work could be done on that. >> thank you. >> the democratic proposals discuss threats to water
4:12 am
including oil development and climate change. does the -- these are all to you. >> thank you. i did not see anything on oil and gas activities and other sector threats to drinking water sources or on climate change. >> one of the concerns we hear about most on drinking water is lead contamination, particularly lead in service lines. will it get lead out of our homes and schools or do we need do more? >> i don't think the discussion draft addressed lead? schools or homes in water. although as i mentioned increased appropriations can help us with some of those aspects of lead service line problems. >> we also hear concerns about the need to restructure water
4:13 am
systems to ensure the technical and managerial capacity to deliver water. does it need to be changed to address that? >> some details could be added. the discussion draft nodted thi is one use of revolving funds. some of the details in the bill you introduced and in other places that support appropriate reinstructing and consolidation would be helpful. >> obviously my opinion this discussion draft needs a lot of work if it's going to address the problems we see in the safe drinking water act. my hope is that my republican colleagues will work with us as we move forward on some of the issues that we mentioned i want to yield my time to mr. mcnerney.
4:14 am
>> i'm going to read a statement. the draft mostly continues with the status quo which is necessary but not sufficient to meet our nation's drinking water needs. >> i'd agree with that. >> i'd agree with that statement. >> yes. >> youy. >> yes. >> yes. >> yes, sir. >> everybody said yes. i was just going to take the ones who said yes, name one thing briefly you think would improve the legislation. briefly. go ahead. >> requiring that any funds being expedited were used be used economically and efficiently that asset management and full life cycle pricing and cost of the true value of water is reflected in
4:15 am
the rates being charged to customers. >> i would support enhancement in asset management requirements and codifying the funding levels and strengthening the wifia authorization. >> technical assistance would be important in small communities. >> i would support being able to shift some of the work for the source water protection plans to the srf. that would free up funds for more technical assists for things in that program. >> thank you. >> yes, epa has stated that various states have unobligated or unspent balances in their srf accounts and when they are not in circulations they are not being used to improve drinking water infrastructure. in combination with increased
4:16 am
funding, we, awwa would urge congress to use all the tooks to put those unexpended funds to use. >> quickly, please. >> to increase the authorization of -- creative use of technical assistance and states technical assistance and state programs to move toward having the most 21st century modern drinking water system we can nationwide. >> in addition to the domestic preference and consistent levels of funding i mentioned in my earlier remarks -- >> quickly, please. >> additional things that would improve the adoption of smart technology would go a long way. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm not going to take five minutes. we appear to be on the verge of
4:17 am
having a bill most people will agree with. i don't hear a lot of negativity. i guess my only question would be the section that "a" says, a new provision that if the federal reporting requirements on federal funding are pretty much the same as local requirements that you don't have to make a federal report. do you all agree with that? sounds like a good deal to me. >> yes. >> it's just -- nobody has heartburn over that. >> no, sir. >> with that i'm going to yield my time to mr. murphy of pennsylvania. >> thank you. in your testimony you argued the presence requirements by the srf are unrealistic and the conditions to granting a waiver should be louisianaened to make it easier to buy non-american products. >> we supported -- >> am i correct?
4:18 am
is it to make make it easier to buy non-american. >> can you repeat the question? >> you said in your testimony, the present buy american requirements are unrealistic and the conditions should be loosened to make it easier to buy nonamerican products. did i understand that? >> yes. >> are you willing to forego taxpayers money to buy steel from wherever you want? >> no. >> what percentage should you have cut in order to allow you to support the economy of china instead of the united states. >> that's not our intent. >> if you're not using american steel but using taxpayer money to buy productsy other countries. so intention or not that's the outcome. >> mr. proctor, in your testimony you discussed the benefits to the broader steel
4:19 am
industry of the preference for drinking water state revolving fund. what impact would congress enacting a statute to permit innocently apply this preference policy to the dwsrf have on industry manufacturing and jobs? >> i think it would accelerate the repatriation of jobs to the u.s. a permanent provision will give a signal of the new capacity here in the united states and see what has happened in the fittings business where jobs that went to china are coming back to the united states and that would increase competition as well as increase jobs and the economic benefit. >> you speak of the lost opportunities to domestic industries and inefficiencies this generates. can you explain what you mean by that? >> it seems inconsistent where you're taking tax dollars from american workers and using those
4:20 am
dollars to fund materials and in the process taking aware their livelihood, number one. number two the agency that is charged with the administration of the srf is the environmental protection agency. and they impose regulations on american manufacturers that make them uncompetitive. so that people go to china, india and other places to buy their products. they're having a perceive effect of sending those manufacturing jobs and sending them to places that have no regard to the environment. >> state owned governments who subsidize it. you may have an american steward paying u.s. taxes. those taxes subsidize water projects in the community which because of the regulations in the united states make other country's steel cheaper and the communities buy other country's steel which puts the steelworkers out of a job.
4:21 am
>> and you're making the environment worse in the process. 25% of the particulate matter that fall in california comes from china. china produces more carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases than all of the other iron and steel companies in the world combines. >> how dig of a problem is the undiscovered water system containing pathogens? >> it's hard to quantify that. every year we find one or two undiscovered water systems. it's hard to see if they are connected to private wells or community waters. with we have folks complaining about water quality and that
4:22 am
leads to the investigation. >> chair now recognizes the gentleman from california mr. peters for five minutes. >> thank you for having this hearing. it comes at an important time when we heard issues like flint. we've got five-year drought ending in california and it's a good time to talk about sustainability and resiliency and we see reports that water prices would have to increase by 41% in the next five years to replace the infrastructure. a "new york times" op ed said that water is broken and data can fix it. modernizing water data would unleash anything seen in a century. miss thorpe you said that information data could increase transparency and provide more effective oversight and lead to
4:23 am
increased public health protection. what are the drivers for the lack of data and what are the steps we might take to employ data to be doing something beyond what we all should agree we are doing today, what we need to do? could you move the microphone the. >> it's not a lack of data necessarily as it might be a lack of ability to compile the data and make it usable to not only regulators but to folks in the drinking water sector in public interest and public health communities. there's some interesting recommendations on that. some time late last year, the president's advisers did an interesting report on drinking water data. some of the authorizations we've talked about today for state programs, as well as srfs and epa itself could lead to
4:24 am
progress. >> i'm looking for more specifics on the steps we should be taking. sometimes i find if you leave it up to states to make these decisions on decisions some will make more progress than others. >> well, one simple step would be improving the technology we use both at epa and in states for making it possible for drinking water consumers to understand monitoring salt in their water system. not just lead, but others. that sort of thing. >> mr. potter, maybe you had ideas about this as well. feasible to put it online in realtime. would that increase the transparency? >> yes, sir. it is. is that directed to me? >> i was looking at proctor. i'm sorry, mr. potter. >> yes, sir, it is.
4:25 am
we have realtime quarter quality data that we can and do put on the web. >> is there something in this bill that we could do to encourage that. >> i think encouragement of that in the asset management would be encouraging. and monitoring. there's a lot of room for technology in our industry. >> is that being deployed in a particular place? >> we are exploring that. >> whether it is or how it can be deployed? >> how it can be used once it is deployed. >> maybe you could just -- got about a minute left. maybe you could tell us kind of -- we've received a "d" on our drinking water
4:26 am
infrastructure and you talked about whether this bill meets the needs. what would you add in each bracket and why? >> we talked about the fact that we would recommend appropriations at the full authorization for wifia at $45 million in fiscal 2018. a doubling of water and waste water from the current fiscal year '17 levels to fiscal year '18. the data and the information if that is part of that question as well. i concur what was said. using it for asset management and for security and preparedness. having realtime data on water system quality is a vital thing and i think the pwss programs and reporting the states and their effort that is not less
4:27 am
than the current funding levels are important to go forward. >> along the lines of mr. mcnerny's question we can do more and i hope we take an opportunity to improve off the standard things we have been doing far long time. i yield back. >> i recognize myself for five minutes. to the group, maybe goes to you, mr. proctor about energy efficiency. out of new york and vermont, if we work together to find ways to efficiency, one of the things i'm concerned about is from this and the water system one of two engineers in congress one of the thing we're talking about is how do we improve efficiency? and i think a smart grid system could be interesting with our meters. and i think you were alluding to
4:28 am
that in your testimony. if we have 240,000 breaks in a year and lose anywhere from 20% of our water that is not efficient. electricity is lost in the pumps to move that. the efficiency, i know that europe is investing about $8 billion in the next three years in smart metering system do. you see that as being part of the solution of how we can be more prudent in our water program? >> absolutely. i'd like to make two points about that. one is the smart technology that is emerging right now does create the opportunity to monitor as well as meter water that's flowing through our distribution systems. so you can detect leaks. when you can detect the leaks you know exactly where it is but you don't spend a lot of times
4:29 am
trying to find it so you can repair it. >> if europe is so much out in front with $8 billion do you know what numbers we are putting into the research for a smart meter? >> i don't know the answer to that. >> rural water, i come from west virginia we have a lot of areas hurting for water. and i have to think in alaska you have a similar situation and around the world there are deficiencies where people can't get access to water. and a program is being developed in west virginia with a group out of denver that can cooperation with the university to develop a mobile water treatment facility. they can produce water now at 27 cents per person per day. that is pretty competitive. i'm wondering whether or not
4:30 am
that is something we should -- first are you aware of the program? >> i am not aware of that particular program, myself. but at our state in alaska, for example there, are several ways that we're researching in partnership with the epa, ways to improve water supply to many rural areas of our state. and those include using innovation and trying to provide recycling and reuse technology so that for the limited supplies that are available that there are ways in which we can improve at a household level the ability to have safe drinking water. >> their program what they're trying to develop there is to use solar panels. they can go to areas without electricity to process water for families in that immediate area. i think it also has opportunities where we have serious leaks where people can't get water that a mobile unit could provide water service in
4:31 am
the interim period of time. i'm very optimistic that these mobile units could be helpful to us. so i thank you on that. and this is an example of -- when i say there's a water problem i've designed thousands of miles of water system and this is a one-inch water line that probably has about 80% of it occluded. this is what we see all across america. that's why this urgency of getting something done so these families can have dependable, clean water and this is unable to priovide that. who do we have next? mr. green, you're recognized for five minutes. >> i want to thank our chairman and ranking member for holding
4:32 am
the hearings today. you know, water challenges are all over the country and where i'm from in texas i have an urban district. it's mostly incorporated. but we have some areas that are urban areas outside the city limits and none of the cities will annex it because of the low property value. they just can't afford to come in and put in new water lines or streets or anything else. so what i was going to see is if in these unincorporated communities with low property values in texas we created decades ago water districts that are local levels of government, water and sewer and other things if they would like, but again you can't create that if you have low value for your property because you can't sell bonds if you can't afford to pay them off. is there a federal program for these areas, similar to what
4:33 am
ural water authorities would be to help get water and sewer? these are very urban areas but, you know, our traditional sources of water and sewer are not there. so what they have is water wells and septic tanks that are in urban areas not designed to have that much usage, i guess. is there anyone on the panel that would help that? our couldn't commissioners have helped with that can. but they don't have the budget except to provide this little bit of money. we have a partner but we would need a partner to do it. anybody? yes, sir. >> rural development in the water program in illinois my system itself was conserved back in the late '80s and we got a group of people together that
4:34 am
tried to form this water system. and they went and talked to people. people put deposits down of $20. $150 to get the meter once we got the funding. but we got the first grant for $2.5 million. and we served those people and we've continued to do that throw this program. i can only assume there could with somebody in that area that would take the bull by the horns and try to do the same thing there. >> mr. proctor, can you tell us about the role your company pays in drinking water or infrastructure project. >> we make pipe valves, fittings, fire hydrants and all those related products. >> a company from houston and i have chemical plants that make
4:35 am
pcv pipe and i know there is some competition because pcv typically doesn't rust but there is other problems with it also. so what is the -- what would you guess would be the usage of pcv compared to metal pipes? >> i'm not sure of the percentages exactly but iron is much more durable than pvc and there are modern techniques to eliminate the corrosion issue. but even without that if you look at the track record of iron and someone mentioned earlier there was a problem that occurred the other day, from a pipe manufacturered in 1860. in my area though, we build these new subdivisions i see it with pcv because local and things like that goes there. what are the steps congress and
4:36 am
the epa can take to ensure we have the trained workers who need to modernize and maintain our water system in our district, like i said earlier, we have the disadvantaged communities that do not have the resources to invest in some of the areas in our district would be called colonia which was created along the border. set out a subdivision and people would buy a lot. the only way to get water is through their own well or a septic tank. but i'm interested in the training for the ploys who are putting the systems in. anybody on the panel? >> texas rural water has riders, technical assistance and training for people like that, for operators who want to learn how to operate a system and get
4:37 am
certified. free of charge to these small communities. >> thank you. >> now recognize the gentleman from mississippi for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman for holding this hearing. this is an issue that we have looked at for years. i want to thank each witness for being here and taking time to help us. this is something that as we look at the aging infrastructure in so many of these systems and how we're doing that and i agree that the circuit riders in my state of mississippi have done a remarkable job of helping areas that don't have the resources and i think that's been a great value across the country where those have been used. if i could ask you a couple of questions, and i know that we touched on some of this already. but i want to look a little deeper. i know in your written testimony
4:38 am
you emphasized the need for asset management to be encouraged by not mandated. is there agreement as to what constitutes good asset management practices? >> there are basically two models. and those models revolve around five basic concepts. the concepts are far less solidified between those two models. what continstitutes good practi is how well you monttize those. generally yes is the answer to that. >> also in that, these are sometimes goals or objectives that how they're met depends upon the resources and determination of each group. is that right? >> it is. there are policy considerations
4:39 am
that go to what are the necessary levels of service that need to be provided for a particular community. those are objectives that are set through public policy. there are what are also besides the required levels of service, what are the tolerances a community has for the degree of risk they are willing to accept or not accept. those are public policy choices made at the local level. there is no up wione specific i >> on behalf of the american water works association what is that organization doing to encourage or support that better asset management? >> we provide through a variety of suites of educational offers in printed materials and w webinars a variety of activities
4:40 am
for practitioners to learn about these concepts and to bring that information down to the level that allows people from the top executive level down to the plant floor and operators to have the educational opportunities that are in establish to learn how to best apply those practices. >> let's just look at where we are right now. if we were talking about what industry or government could do that might encourage better asset management does something stand out that you would give us as a take away you want to make sure we don't miss? >> i think the ability to have the environmental protection agency to be able to monitor these developments and provide materials on a periodic basis and update as time progresses that's an important thing to include in this particular
4:41 am
legislation is to ask the administrator to be able to update those on a regular lay bey sis a -- basis and make them available. that's one aspect. the second aspect is to provide the encouragement through providing a positive incentive to those systems that are interested in securing an srf loan, to be able to reward them for having made positive steps in advancing and adopting the processes at their local community. to reinforce through positive rewards, if you will, the ability to work with the agencies and secure loans so that there is a recognition that advancing these practices leads to good things. >> do you believe you have sufficiently objective criteria to measure that progress?
4:42 am
>> i think there are ways to measure that. and we would be interested in working with the panel here to identify those specific things to show measurable progress. >> thank you very much. with that, i yield back. >> gentleman yields back his time. >> chair? i know we are rushing off to the bracing for house members. i just wanted to offer this observation that everyone is indicating that we need more federal dollars to address what is a basic core of infrastructure that speaks to our needs. but if we can find it in our means to provide for $70 billion from the general fund for roads and bridges with the f.a.s.t. act we need to step up and say, hey, look, this is a hidden infrastructure that cannot be out of sight and out of mind. we need to do better. we need to prioritize here and
4:43 am
not set aside the needs here that should be funded with additional resources from the federal budget based on recent happenings here in d.c. >> and i call on my colleague for being passionate and committed. >> no further members wish to ask questions of the panel i would like to thank you for coming and coming early. this is the earliest hearing i have been involved with. i would like for unanimous decision to submit. i remember members they have ten business days to submit additional questions for record and i ask that witnesses submit their responses of ten business days in receipt of the questions and you may get a little bit more, we are so busy this morning. so i think minority counsel warned you about that
4:44 am
previously. without objection the subcommittee is adjourned. this weekend on american history tv on c-span3, saturday at 10:00 p.m. eastern, a 50-year-old cbs broadcast with robert kennedy and ronald reagan taking questions via satellite from students in london. >> in london there is a movement
4:45 am
against racial discrimination would the candidates like to comment on this and perhaps other countries may learn from america's experience? >> we are dealing with a heritage of 150 years. we have been unjust to our minority groups particularly the negroes as well as mexican americans and the indians and now we are starting to deal with it. >> at 8:00, georgetown history professor on the military strategy and political goals of emancipation. >> the idea that a president in a rebellion of the southern states might have the authority to emancipate slaves as a military measure predates the civil war. it's articulated bijhon wincy adams on a number of occasion. history professor paul
4:46 am
polgar on the debates on slavery and race. >> anti-slavery activists and especially the pennsylvania abolition society put forth a vision of a new nation where the basic rights of enslaved africans were respected. and history author on letters exchanged between a abraham lincoln and speed. >> it was normal and encouraged to be expressive about intimacy and connection and love. and that's the way to see this relationship as long as the boundary against sexuality was absolutely and strictly maintained. >> for our schedule go to whether you're going to be a dentist or lawyer or teacher or
4:47 am
an accountant, let your guiding principle be truth and service. >> success is not an entitlement. it has to be earned and earned every day through the lens of humility. >> our greatest passions in life often force us to face challenges that seem insurmountable. you can conquer these challenges and they will shape and strengthen your character. >> this weekend, speakers include education secretary betsey devos at bethune-cookman university. at university of alabama in huntsville. executive chairman of starbucks, howard


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on