Rep. Summer Lee Hosts VP, EPA Administrator in Pittsburgh to Announce $5.8 Billion for Drinking Water Systems, Wastewater Infrastructure Nationwide, Including $200 Million in Pennsylvania

For Immediate Release: 

Contact: Emilia.Rowland@mail.house.gov 

Rep. Summer Lee Hosts VP, EPA Administrator in Pittsburgh to Announce $5.8 Billion for Drinking Water Systems, Wastewater Infrastructure Nationwide, Including $200 Million in Pennsylvania

(Pittsburgh, PA) – On Tuesday, February 20th from 10 AM – 2 PM, Rep. Summer Lee (PA-12) hosted Vice President Kamala Harris and EPA Administrator Michael Regan in the district to discuss an incoming $5.8 billion as for states, Tribes, and territories–including $200 million in Pennsylvania–to invest in clean water projects that include replacing lead pipes, improving stormwater infrastructure to tackle flooding, and remove contaminants. This investment will be a part of the broader $50 billion under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act for clean water, but not part of the $15 billion the law set aside for lead pipe replacement. To date, Pennsylvania has received approximately $659 million for clean water infrastructure. Vice President Harris will be arriving at 11:50 AM at Pittsburgh International Airport, less than a week after Rep. Lee worked with the Biden Administration to secure a $5.3 million grant to build improvements to the airport

Watch full livestream here.

“This additional funding we’re bringing home: $99 million to clean our waterways, and $75 million for clean drinking water, is a crucial step we’re taking towards a new reality—where our communities aren’t deemed sacrifice zones anymore” said Rep. Summer Lee (PA-12). “I’m proud to be standing here on the precipice of a new reality–one that has been fought for by generations of activists and organizers, in communities like mine, who demanded that their basic rights were recognized, and who had to work hard for the bare minimum: to live in a community where their environment didn’t pose an active risk to their health.”

“Clean water. Can you believe that in the United States of America, that is still not necessarily guaranteed to all people? To access clean water?” said Vice President Kamala Harris. “I’m here today to announce some of the work we’ve been doing over many years that is righting this wrong–because we all believe that every single person in America has a right to clean water […] When the President and I took office, we decided to deal with this. Americans in over 10 million and children in thousands of schools and child care facilities had to drink out of water that came out of lead pipes.”

“Too many parents know the pain of having a child sickened by contaminated water. Too many communities have been left behind and are suffering from decentralized and inadequate wastewater systems. That’s why President Biden and Vice President Harris have made clean water a cornerstone of this administration’s agenda. Investing in our water is investing in America” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan. “The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act “delivered the single largest investment in water infrastructure in US history. $50 billion to replace lead pipes, protect treasured waters, and build drinking water and wastewater systems that are resilient in the face of climate change.”

Background: 

  • EPA Clean Water Funding Announcement
    • The Admin will announce $75 M in drinking water funding for PA including replacing lead pipes, improving storm water infrastructure to tackle flooding, and removing contaminants. This is part of $5.8 billion nationwide.  ~50%  can support the removal of lead pipes. This funding is part of the broader $50B+ under IIJA for clean water, but not part of the dedicated $15B IIJA program dedicated to lead pipe replacement. 
    • PA will receive ~$200M of this $5.8B.
  • Clean Water in Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh
    • According to EPA, PA has ~700K lead service lines still in use, the 4th-highest total of any state; ~7.5% of all service lines in PA are lead-based.
    • In total, PA has received ~$659M in IIJA funding for clean water infrastructure.
    • In Jan. 2024, PA Gov. Josh Shapiro announced $194.3M for 28 drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, and anti-contamination projects across 20 counties in the state. That funding includes money from IIJA. 
    • In Pittsburgh, after a coalition of labor, faith, and environmental groups took legal action in 2020, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) agreed to remove all lead pipes by 2026. They are currently more than halfway to achieving that goal and remain on track.
      • PWSA estimates that ~6K public lead service lines remain in their system. PWSA has removed 1,746 public lead service lines and 1,605 private lead service lines since the VP’s visit in June of 2022.
  • Rep. Lee’s Action on Lead Pipe Removal
    • Last year, Congresswoman Lee helped deliver a $52.4 million loan from the federal government to go toward Water Reliability Plan investments.  
    • Additionally, the House passed Congresswoman Summer Lee’s amendment highlighting the need to protect children’s health by increasing funding for testing and remediation of lead contamination in drinking water at schools and child care facilities. This amendment was added to the FY2024 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.
    • In January, Congresswoman Lee announced an additional $32.1 million low-interest loan and grant to Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority to continue the aggressive removal of lead service lines throughout Southwest PA’s drinking water system.

Since taking office in January, Lee, who serves on the House Oversight Committee and Space, Science and Technology Committee, has delivered historic levels of federal investment totaling over $1 Billion brought back to Western PA, including over $200 million for infrastructure, over $50 million for affordable transit, and over $500 million to keep clean energy manufacturing at home in Pennsylvania. These investments will help improve Western Pennsylvania’s infrastructure and transit, ensure cleaner air and drinking water, lower housing costs, fund research institutions, fuel clean manufacturing, fund STEM innovation and entrepreneurship, boost workforce development, and create thousands of good paying union jobs.  Lee and her team have also delivered casework and constituent services to over 1,600 constituents with issues ranging from helping our seniors and disabled community access Medicare and social security to helping folks secure housing and helping families with immigration support and passports.

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