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Sen. Sherrod Brown Unsure Of Chances For Bill To Help Sewer Upgrades

The bill would help communities upgrade water and sewer systems. (File photo: Tony Ganzer)

A nearly $2 billion bill to help communities upgrade their sewer and water systems has passed the U.S. Senate.

But its sponsor, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, acknowledges he’s not certain of its chances in the House. From Ohio Public Radio station WKSU M.L. Schultze has more.

The bill focuses on upgrades to century-old systems that flush massive amounts of storm water and sewage into waterways during heavy storms. 

The bill would authorize $1.8 billion in competitive grants for water and sewer fixes over five years.

It would require the EPA to recognize local economic problems when it mandates the schedule for the upgrades.

And it would require the EPA to emphasize green infrastructure projects that keep water out of treatment systems in the first place. 

Brown says it would be an economic boon as well.

“It’ll create jobs and promote economic development. Business wants to know that water is affordable and reliable most important before it moves in -- manufacturing and other business.” 

House leaders have said they will not consider the bill until after November’s election.

Akron, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and Sandusky are among the systems spending billions of dollars to upgrade, and customers are seeing their rates as much as quadruple.

Akron estimates that green modifications to its sewer plan will save more than $50 million.