House Committee Studies Wastewater Security Bill

In late February, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved H.R 866, the Wastewater Treatment Works Security Act of 2003.

In late February, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved H.R 866, the Wastewater Treatment Works Security Act of 2003.

The bill, sponsored by the Committee's Chairman Don Young (R-AL) and ranking member James Oberstar (D-MN), authorizes EPA to establish a $200 million grant program for publicly owned treatment facilities to conduct vulnerability assessments and security enhancements. House leadership has indicated H.R. 866 should be placed on the calendar for consideration soon.

Senate Democrats have introduced wastewater security legislation that is similar to language seen last year, but it is unclear how the Senate will proceed. The Senate language is included within S. 6, the Comprehensive Homeland Security Act of 2003, that was introduced by Sen. Thomas Daschle (D-SD).

The Senate wastewater bill includes a $200 million grant program but differs from H.R. 866 by allowing EPA to review alternative water treatment processes should an attack take place. The Senate bill also calls on EPA to keep and review the emergency plans.

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