Congresswoman Lori Trahan and Congressman Seth Moulton and their New Hampshire counterparts, U.S. Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas recently joined together in requesting, for the fifth year in a row, more federal money to combat combined sewer overflows polluting the Merrimack River.
This year’s letter requesting $280 million was sent to House appropriators leading negotiations on paying for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grant program. The amount requested is equal to that requested by the president.
“This is a particularly urgent challenge for communities along the Merrimack River, which supplies drinking water for over 600,000 people,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter. “On average, almost 550 million gallons of sewage and untreated stormwater are released annually into the river, which runs more than 100 miles from central New Hampshire, through northeastern Massachusetts and then out to sea. Combined sewer overflow discharges in Lowell and Manchester on average account for over 80% of the annual volume.”
The letter was addressed to U.S. Reps. Mike Simpson and Chellie Pingree, chairman and ranking member respectively of the House Appropriations Committee’s Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Subcommittee.
When Trahan took office in 2019, the EPA’s Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grant program received $0 in appropriations. Following consistent advocacy from Trahan, Moulton, Kuster and Pappas, the program received $50 million in federal appropriations last year.