Note: This is the second of four blogs that examine key issues in Congress that would impact the precast concrete industry. To view the previous blog, click here.
The precast concrete industry is heavily invested in ensuring the safety of the water supply through wastewater, stormwater and other related water infrastructure products. Some of those products go to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which requires NPCA certification for drainage structures. The Water Resources Development Act refers to a set of laws enacted by Congress to manage various water resources, including flood protection, environmental, structural and navigational. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers administers much of the WRDA. The legislation provides guidance and priorities for Corps projects. WRDA legislation has been in effect for the last few decades, with a reauthorization typically every two years. However, the most recent WRDA was enacted in 2007.
The Senate passed a reauthorization bill in May, 2013 by a vote of 83-14. The House passed its version of the bill, titled the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), on Oct. 23 by a vote of 417-3. The two bills then went to a conference committee, where they have reportedly negotiated the details of a final bill that could be voted on in the coming weeks. While details of the water bill have not yet been released, it is being reported that the measure could also include funding provisions for state revolving funds that would support wastewater treatment projects. This would be good news for precast manufacturers who produce wastewater infrastructure products.
NPCA joins the cement and concrete coalition in strongly supporting passage of the bill, which has broad bipartisan support in both the Senate and House. The bill would likely be seen as a major accomplishment for Congress and would provide a much-needed boost to the country’s aging water infrastructure.