Re: The editorial “Culvert challenge deserves federal funds” [March 31, Opinion] urged legislators to direct federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act that are allocated for “water, sewer or broadband infrastructure” to culvert replacement projects.
While we support the work needed to help make streams accessible again for spawning salmon and understand that financing has been challenging, these funds are sorely needed for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure as well.
Drinking water systems are aging and need replacement. Sewage treatment plants constructed in the 1960s need equipment modernization or replacement to improve reliability and water quality. Also, impending regulations by the state Department of Ecology could force agencies around Puget Sound to make substantial investments to further protect marine waters.
Safe drinking water and wastewater treatment are critical for the health of our communities. Allocating “water funds” to culvert replacement may help solve one problem but unduly burdens local ratepayers, particularly lower-income residents.
The Washington Association of Sewer and Water Districts represents public utilities across the state. We support restoration of salmon habitat and water quality. It’s why our districts exist. Nonetheless we hope legislators consider all water priorities when allocating funds coming to this state.
Judi Gladstone, Renton, executive director, Washington Association of Sewer and Water Districts