National Defense Bill to Invest Over $300 Million in Washington State’s Water Infrastructure

Cantwell: Our water and wastewater systems must be “ready to protect their communities and the environment”

WASHINGTON, D.C– Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 350-80 to pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The legislation – which now heads to the Senate – includes the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) and would allocate $304.5 million for investments in Washington state’s stormwater and wastewater infrastructure.

Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), who chairs the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, fought to secure WRDA language that would provide funding for critical stormwater and wastewater infrastructure projects across the State of Washington.

“Our residents deserve strong, resilient water infrastructure ready to protect their communities and the environment,” Sen. Cantwell said. “Authorizing over $300 million in stormwater and wastewater projects in communities like Burien, Ellensburg, North Bend, Port Angeles, and others across the state will help protect homes and businesses from flooding, and prevent dangerous runoff from polluting our natural habitats.”

To access the wastewater project funding, grant recipients will need to match the federal investment with a 25 percent cost share. The WRDA authorizes seven projects across the state, including:

  • $200 million for Chelan, King, Kittitas, Pierce, Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties for planning, design, and construction assistance on water infrastructure projects, including drinking water, stormwater, wastewater, and conservation. This will allow smaller communities to leverage the expertise of the Army Corps of Engineers in improving their water infrastructure.
  • $56 million for Snohomish County for critical water supply infrastructure and habitat restoration. This funding is for Chinook Marsh, an approximately 430-acre property bordered by Ebey Slough and Fobes Hill where nearly all of the historic estuarine habitat has been lost due to diking and drainage. This grant will be used to relocate the water transmission line for the City of Everett from the site to protect it from seismic and flood risks, and also allow for a maximization of the tidal restoration area in the estuary. This water line is the provider of drinking water for most of Snohomish County, serving a population of approximately 640,000 people. It is the only water transmission line that supplies Boeing, and serves as the primary line moving water from watershed and reservoirs in the Cascades.
  • $30 million for the City of North Bend for wastewater infrastructure, including stormwater management. The city’s Wastewater Treatment Plant is currently in Phase 2 of a major modernization project that amounts to a long-term investment in North Bend’s critical infrastructure. When complete, the project will double treatment capacity, improve employee safety, and comply with stricter state environmental requirements that protect the Snoqualmie River, among other benefits.
  • $7.5 million for the City and Port of Port Angeles for wastewater infrastructure, including stormwater management. The current sewage collection system consists of both separate and combined sewer systems, and the wastewater collection system overflows during storms due to insufficient capacity. Major storm events during the winter of 2020 caused capacity issues, which highlighted the necessity of new sewer lines and pump station mains.
  • $5 million for the City of Burien for stormwater management infrastructure. This project will help address wastewater issues along a six-block corridor where dozens of residences and businesses frequently experience flooding and septic failures. Funds will be used for design, permitting, right-of-way acquisition and construction of new stormwater infrastructure – including replaced stormwater pipes, culverts, a detention facility, and environmental enhancements along the stream corridor and its associated wetland. The design of the project would begin immediately; design, right-of-way acquisition and construction would take approximately three years total once the project is fully funded.
  • $3 million for the City of Bonney Lake to address its water and wastewater infrastructure needs. Bonney Lake has approximately $33 million in backlogged infrastructure and capital improvement projects. Infrastructure needs include increasing water storage and supply capabilities, improvements to sewer mains, and pumping and storage capacity. 
  • $3 million for the City of Ellensburg for wastewater infrastructure, including stormwater management. This authorization could help Ellensburg provide a collection system capable of conveying all wastewater discharges from residential, commercial, and industrial customers within the city limits and urban growth area. It will help Ellensburg improve its public water collection system so it remains functional during storms with without flooding or damaging community infrastructure.  

The NDAA now heads to the Senate, where the bill is expected to be considered next week, before ultimately heading to the President’s desk.