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Mr. WYLIE. Just last month we passed a bill, but over the last 3 years we have accumulated that amount.
Have you looked into the possibility of water and sewer grants under those programs that are now existing?
Mr. ROUSAKIS. Yes.
Mr. RoUsakis. We, at the present time, as I mentioned earlier, are looking at an expenditure of $24 million to $27 million with the available funds that are presently available to us and the approved items, it would represent from the Federal Government, some 20 percent of that cost.
Mr. WYLIE. Well, the $18 billion has just been authorized and I think you might want to take a look at that.
Have you found that
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Wylie, we had an agreement with this gentleman
Mr. WYLIE. I am sorry.
The CHAIRMAN (continuing). And we would like to excuse him, and then we will resume questioning in the order immediately after that.
Mr. Blackburn wanted to be recognized on a personal matter.
Mr. BlaCKBURN. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate your recognizing me. I want to extend my personal welcome as a fellow Georgian to the mayor and his city manager whom I have known over many, many years. We are glad to have you with us.
I wish it were as easy to solve the problem as it is to recognize them up here.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you for your attendance, and if you would like to expand your testimony you may do so when you look over your transcript.
You are excused, with the thanks of the committee.
All right. I would like to ask Mr. Alexander two or three questions, and I will yield to the other members.
This is what you said in your statement, Mr. Alexander, on page 3. The House has recently passed a strong and far-reaching water pollution control bill authorizing $18 billion for construction of badly needed sewage treatment facilities. This legislation will have no value unless funds are provided for other parts of the system, the basic sewer line.
How much funding is required for other parts of the system, Mr. Alexander?
Mr. ALEXANDER. Was that directed to me, Mr. Chairman?
Mr. ALEXANDER. The water pollution control program, of course, is one program separate and distinct from the HUD program and provides for treatment facilities, the treatment plant and the major interceptors and outfalls, but the major cost in providing sewage treatment to the home is the lateral system and leads to the property line or to the home. These are the expensive programs, and this mention to me having spent $18 billion over the past year or so is a combination of all of these programs, and this program that we are talking about here is the lateral system that runs from $300 to $372 a year on a time-pay plan, as I pointed out in the testimony, or $3,600 to $5,200 total cost for the lateral system. These are very expensive.
The CHAIRMAN. You may expand on your testimony when you look over your record for its approval.
The next question is: Your statement says, on page 2. It is our belief that if more Federal assistance were available most local governments could double the dollar amount of applications previously submitted to HUD and thereby begin to meet the critical needs for these facilities on the local level.
Are you saying, in effect, that the need for water and sewer grants come to at least $10 billion?
Mr. ALEXANDER. Yes, sir; I have no doubt about it.
Suppose this bill is adopted by Congress and signed by the President in the next few weeks. From your own experience, how soon do you think counties and municipalities could put this money to work?
Mr. ALEXANDER. In our particular instance, and I am sure this is applicable in many areas of our State, projects could be put under construction within 60 days, many of them, and a great number within a 6-month period.
The CHAIRMAN. One other question.
In addition we have 18 projects totaling $40 million for which we did not submit applications upon the advice of HUD Regional Office. We were told that there simply were no funds for these projects and that it would not do us any good to submit applications.
Do you mean to say that with $500 million appropriated but impounded, HUD was telling you that story? Didn't
think it was untrue? Mr. ALEXANDER. I think it was true. I do not think the funds were available, and there was no use wasting our time or their time reviewing applications, or preparing and reviewing applications. The funds were not available.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, they had been appropriated; haven't they? Mr. ALEXANDER. But not spent.
The CHAIRMAN. I know. But the President could release it at anytime; couldn't he?
Mr. ALEXANDER. This is true.
The CHAIRMAN. Congress may have to resort to ways to compel the expenditure of these funds.
Mr. ALEXANDER. This is true.
The CHAIRMAN. I think Congress is in the mood to do something like that. It has been done by this committee on a certain bill, and it can be done by any committee of Congress if the House approves it and the Senate stays with us.
Mr. ALEXANDER. I think we pointed this out in our testimony.
Mr. WIDNALL. I would like to come back to mention that part of your testimony where you say "This legislative act"---referring to the $18 billion will have no value unless funds are provided for the other parts of the system, the basic sewer lines,” and you describe those as the laterals and other incidental lines.
I have been informed and I certainly want to pin this down with the authorities down here—that under that $18 billion authorization that would include laterals.
Mr. ALEXANDER. It does not. Under the new bill, the new House bill, there are some moneys, I believe some $7 billion of that bill, provided for lateral systems, but the $18 billion is strictly for treatment plants and interceptors.
Mr. WINDALL. Have you had a definite statement from the Government on that?
Mr. ALEXANDER. I have read the bill.
Mr. Winnall. Because it certainly would be the height of fallacy, I would say, to be appropriating more money for waste-treatment plants and then have no means of taking care of the effluents.
Mr. ALEXANDER. This is true. The House bill provides for some lateral system; the Senate bill does not.
Mr. WIDNALL. That is all.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Barrett?
Mr. Johnson. Now, I know there is an urgency in Pennsylvania to construct sewage systems, although I agree with your statement that Pennsylvania has taken the lead in the United States through the Pure Streams Act back in the early 1920's, and we have probably constructed more sewage-treatment facilities per capita, perhaps, than any other State in the Union. That would be true, would it not?
Mr. Wilcox. I think Pennsylvania could be in the forefront among the States. I can't say categorically that it is the first.
Mr. Johnson. Now, my real question is: There may be as many as 25 sewage construction projects held up in Pennsylvania because of the fact that I believe the State government or an agency thereof has not yet prepared regulations and rules with respect to having treatment facilities along streams that are classed as interstate waters. I am thinking of the city of Bradford. They are all ready to go with a $3 million upgrading sewage treatment plant, and there is a holdup in Harrisburg because you have not adopted these rules and regulations.
Are you familiar with that backlog?
Mr. Wilcox. I am not. Neither of us are familiar with that, Mr. Johnson.
I will be glad to check into it and communicate with you on the matter subsequently.
Mr. Johnson. When you talk about the seriousness in Pennsylvania of their not being able to construct these sewage disposal plants that you mention, actually the State is dragging its feet.
I will tell you who you can contact. There is an attorney by the name of Snyder who is in Philadelphia and is working out of Furia's office. He will give the story to you about it.
Mr. Wilcox. I will be glad to check with Mr. Snyder and Mr. Furia on this matter.
You might be quite right in what you say. There are a great many communities that are not on interstate streams that also have these needs that are not being met. We have plenty of work even if what you say is correct—and I assume it is.
Mr. Johnson. I will yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. McKINNEY. Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask unanimous consent. I have floor duty and have to leave at 5 to 12.
I wonder if I might go out of order?
The CHAIRMAN. Unanimous consent is asked by the gentleman if he may proceed out of order. He has a matter before the House of Representatives at 12 o'clock.
Is there objection?
I am well aware of your problem. I think the Northeast is probably more afflicted with this problem than any other area I can think of.
One thing bothers me though: We are asking the American taxpayer now to pick up the bill because most communities and counties and States in our Union have not required developers and builders to come forth with their full share of the costs; in other words, unwise zoning, unwise lot planning, unwise densities right across the border, all now being responsible for the American taxpayer being faced with about $18 billion to $20 billion worth of bills.
Is there, on the part of any of the organizations you represent, a move or an endorsement of the fact that there must be more responsible local, State, and county laws so that the American taxpayer in general is not going to be stuck with paying the bills that, basically, the developers have thrust upon him?
Mr. Wilcox. I think there are, at least, two things in Pennsylvania that are current plus the long historical activities in this area. Our environmental research board has adopted a regulation just recently that makes it mandatory that all lots under 1 acre have a sewage distribution system installed in connection with that development.
The other thing that is happening is that as a generalization, my department is taking much more interest in the whole issue of zoning in Pennsylvania, and we are doing what we can to stimulate the development of planned residential developments which, of course, take into consideration the whole issue of environment in its total sense, including proper distribution facilities.
I doubt that in Pennsylvania, from this time on, whatever the applications of the past have been, we will be adding to the difficulty, because developers simply have to, even when there is not a treatment facility-I am having a home built in the suburbs of Harrisburg, and there is no treatment facilities, but the builder is putting in a distribution system, a dry sewer, so-called, and we have an on-lot sewage disposal system that we will use for a year or two until the treatment facility is built, and I think that is not uncommon now.
Mr. ALEXANDER. I would agree with the gentleman from Pennsylvania; I think there has been laxity in this area in years gone by, but this problem is being recognized today and there is not this haphazard construction of subdivisions throughout the rural areas; it is not allowed.
Mr. McKINNEY. I think it is interesting to note when you survey a broad area, say, of Fairfield, Conn., which happens to be my part of the Nation, most of the sewage problem we have today comes from developments that have been done within the last 15 years, and that we are, in essence, asking our taxpayers to pick up the bill that the developers have left behind, and it would be, quite frankly, my impression that if this bill were passed and we were to ask the
for 50 years.
American taxpayers to take on this burden, the Congress would demand that any area or municipality or county that was to participate in these funds would have to show us very strong regulations as to what they were going to require in the form of laterals and distribution systems from their developers and builders because they are getting rich while the taxpayer is getting poor.
The next question I would like to ask is simply this-
Mr. Peyton, would you say that, from the standpoint of technology associated with the construction of sewage lines, that the Government should invest more in the area of research and development, in order to come up with a better concept on the transmission of sewage?
Mr. Peyton. I would say "Absolutely, yes." We are still handling water like they did at Versailles in 1400. We still bring water from the reservoir like the Romans did.
We are still using vitrified clay pipe. That is a product that has been around for many, many years. There are a few new types of pipe products being developed, but I do not think they are being developed fast enough.
Just in the last 2 or 3 years we are beginning to develop excavating machines that are a great improvement over the things we have had
The CHAIRMAN. Would the gentleman yield for a brief question?
I have heard the statement made that the Good Lord gave us a certain amount of land and a certain amount of water and no more is going to be created and that we will have to learn to live with what we have.
Is that a correct statement?
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, if our population increases by 100 percent, a few decades from now, from the current 200 million, we will have to live with what we have in the way of land and water, no more will be created.
Mr. PEYTON. Yes, sir.
with your response, Mr. Peyton, and it seems to me the technology is not far enough advanced to meet the needs of this population that we refer to. As I see it, this is really the gut issue associated with the sewage problems that exist throughout our country. In my home community, for instance, I was heavily involved in a project which would rehabilitate a destroyed body of water, a lake contained within the city limits in a metropolitan area with a population of half a million people.
We can move in the direction of a demonstration project that might rehabilitate that lake, but a companion problem results from this effort because of the inadequacy of the sewage system to accommodate storm overflow. I suggested that they go out and get some estimates as to how we could beat that problem, and in one community the least costly estimate was $180 million for a dual conduit system, which tells me that never under the present concept will our Nation overcome its problem unless we advance from the standpoint of technology.
Mr. PEYTON. I agree, sir.