Last week, I wrote to you all about the importance of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) and how it will advance the priorities of flood control and navigation. This week, the Senate passed the bill and it now heads to the President to get signed into law.
From the time I helped introduce this bill in May, my primary focus was ensuring it was a win for the people of North Missouri. Many of our communities have faced unexpected disasters or onerous EPA mandates that have forced them to raise taxes or delay projects. In this year’s WRDA, I was able to get funding authorized for several of those sewer and stormwater projects.
In the City of St. Joseph, much of this funding will be used to upgrade their sewer treatment facilities and other infrastructure to meet requirements set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Despite the best efforts of local leaders, these EPA mandates have caused sewer bills to triple in St. Joseph in recent years. That’s put an enormous burden on local residents, particularly those trying to get by on a fixed income.
In Hannibal, WRDA funding will be used to replace part of the stormwater system built under the downtown area in the late 1800’s. The system, which carries water under the nearby levee, failed during the Flood of 2019. The Corps of Engineers helped replace a part of it, but this would finish the job and help protect historic downtown Hannibal against future flooding events.
The program would also help Excelsior Springs, Smithville, and Camden Point meet the growing needs of their communities. In Excelsior Springs, it will be used to line aging clay sewer mains. These mains have problems with groundwater leaking into the system, which causes sewer backups and increases sewer treatment costs for residents. In Smithville, it will help expand their sewer system to meet the needs of their growing population.
In Camden Point, it will help create an entirely new sewer system for the community, which currently relies on individual septic tanks for residents. This move is essential for meeting the requirements necessary to keep North Platte R-1 elementary school in their community.
In the eyes of the bureaucrats in Washington, all these sewer projects might seem like small potatoes. But, to the people in North Missouri who count on these sewer systems every single day, many of whom have been plagued by skyrocketing sewer bills thanks to EPA mandates, these necessary repairs, upgrades, and improvements are a big deal.
Once this legislation is signed into law, we’ll still need to secure an appropriation for these projects in the future. However, this is critical towards getting these projects funded and I’m going to keep fighting to make sure folks in Washington realize just how important they are.