MWWA Legislative Priorities Set for 2019 MA Congressional Session

The Massachusetts Water Works Association has set forth its legislative priorities for the 2019 sessions of the Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives, with the filing of the following bills:

An Act to require the disclosure of lead in water pipes—House Docket 3403/Senate Docket 36—Sponsors: Representative Carolyn Dykema; Senator Jason Lewis—This bill amends the Lead Disclosure Act, Section 197A of Chapter 111 of the MA General Laws, to include notification to prospective buyers of lead plumbing or water piping, in addition to existing disclosures of lead paint and plaster. In light of the tragic water contamination incident in Flint, Michigan, this is an important bill to ensure protection of public health, especially of infants and small children who are most susceptible to lead poisoning.

An Act Relative to Municipal Assistance for Clean Water and Economic Development Infrastructure -House Docket 3686-—Sponsor: Representative Carolyn Dykema—This bill authorizes creation of a $1 Billion Water Infrastructure Bond for a capital outlay program of maintenance and improvements to municipal drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure. The grant funding would be distributed to municipalities based on a formula similar to Chapter 90 transportation funding.

An Act providing for the Establishment of Sustainable Water Resource Funds-House Docket 3688/Senate Docket 860-—Sponsors: Senator Jamie Eldridge; Representative Carolyn Dykema–This bill would encourage the use of “water banking” by cities and towns. Water banking can be an effective management tool for communities to mitigate, or offset, the impacts of increased demands on water resource intensive services, balance the water budget, assist in restoring and protecting instream flow, promote water conservation, and ensure an adequate level of service is available for the provision of potable water as well as the treatment and management of wastewater and stormwater. It would allow cities and towns to collect a reasonable charge to be used for measures to remedy and offset these impacts and to deposit the charge in to a separate municipal account for drinking water, wastewater or stormwater. The use of water banking by communities will facilitate the generation of physical savings of water as well as economic savings.

An Act to Assist Municipal and District Ratepayers-House Docket 1415/Senate Docket 38—Sponsors: Senator Michael Moore; Representative Jeffrey Roy— Cities, towns and water and wastewater districts are governed by environmental rules and regulations administered by state agencies under the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA). These rules and regulations apply to the operation of public drinking water systems, wastewater collection and treatment facilities and stormwater management. Compliance with such rules is costly with annual expenditures reaching into the hundreds of millions of dollars for some communities. This legislation would require the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs to complete a regulatory impact statement on any rule, regulation, guidance document or policy that they propose.

An Act Relative to the Rights of Municipalities and Districts-House Docket 643-Sponsor: Representative Alice Peisch—This legislation amends Section 2 of MGL 21G, further clarifying the definitions for the permit program and the registration statement to be consistent with the regulations. The bill also amends Section 5 of MGL 21G, making it clear that all properly filed WMA Registrations statements shall entitle the registrants to their registered water use volumes without conditions and stipulates that no regulations may be promulgated that would allow the imposition of conditions.

CO-SPONSORS ARE NEEDED – PLEASE CONTACT YOUR STATE SENATOR OR REPRESENTATIVE AND ASK THEM TO CO-SPONSOR THESE IMPORTANT BILLS

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