U.S. Rep. Perez tours wastewater treatment plant, shares clean water investments at roundtable


District 3 U.S. Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez gathered local stakeholders to discuss her clean water priorities in Congress at the City of Vancouver’s Marine Park Wastewater Treatment Plant on Wednesday, April 24.

Gluesenkamp Perez toured the City of Vancouver’s Marine Park Wastewater Treatment Plant and held a clean water and wastewater roundtable where she discussed her recent clean water infrastructure investments, as well as how she can help support reliable, affordable wastewater service and efforts to mitigate perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in Congress.

She said it was a pleasure to hang out with the people behind the scenes who are managing wastewater facilities in her district’s largest city.

“There’s a lot of different opinions about what the appropriate role of government is, but we all really like having clean water and having a sewer system that’s reliable,” Gluesenkamp Perez said. “And it’s really important to me to hear from people on the ground about what their experience is trying to navigate some of these federal grants that are just not designed for smaller communities, and I find that to be completely unacceptable.”

In March, Gluesenkamp Perez secured over $7.8 million in Community Project Funding for water and wastewater projects across Southwest Washington.

“I had one of the highest rates of success in the region bringing back federal dollars because my local partners identified projects that just unquestionably have a high level of merit,” she said. “We were not going after vanity projects, like, we were going after the nuts and bolts of good governance and so it was really a pleasure with full enthusiasm, fight for these dollars and bring them home. It made it a lot more fun for me personally to know that the impact is here with my community.”

The water and wastewater projects for which Gluesenkamp Perez secured funds include:

• $3 million for equipment upgrades at the Salmon Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Vancouver

• $1 million to support Ryderwood’s drought-resiliency project

• $959,752 for construction of a biosolids facility at the Washougal Wastewater Treatment Plant

• $959,752 for the Oregon Avenue sewer main replacement in Long Beach

• $959,752 for the Port of Skamania to expand wastewater infrastructure for industrial growth

• $959,752 for Wahkiakum PUD to build an alternate water source for Puget Island

Gluesenkamp Perez has also introduced bipartisan legislation to shield Southwest Washington ratepayers from cleanup costs for harmful PFAS chemicals, prohibit federal agencies from procuring certain products containing PFAS, and research the impacts of microplastics on biosolids used for agriculture, a news release from her office stated. She also introduced the bipartisan Streamlining Federal Grants Act to standardize grant administration and make it easier for communities and organizations to apply for grants.

“It’s really important to me to move federal policy back to a human scale where it’s intelligible when people see the direct results and impacts of their federal tax dollars in their communities,” Gluesenkamp Perez said. “We want to see federal resources supporting our public utilities, not making life more difficult for them. It is often the people with the least power … are asked to pay for things first and so I believe that we need an environment that is going to ask the manufacturers of harmful chemicals to pay for their removal, not somebody who is surviving on social security in a rural part of the country.”