WASHINGTON — Today U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water Bruno Pigott joined U.S Representative Donald Norcross, Camden Mayor Victor Carstarphen, EPA Region 2 Senior Advisor for Equity and Chief of Staff Olivia Glenn, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn LaTourette and local community leaders to highlight the continued improvements made to Camden’s water infrastructure as part of the Agency’s 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act celebration tour.
“When Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972—with an overwhelming bipartisan majority—it charted a new path for America’s waters. As a result, we have seen transformational progress over the last 50 years—waters that were once polluted are now fishable and swimmable,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “President Biden and Congress have laid the foundation for the next 50 years of progress by investing $50 billion in EPA’s water programs through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”
“Iconic waterbodies like the Delaware and Cooper Rivers are the lifeblood of communities like Camden,” said EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. “EPA is proud to provide support to the City of Camden and the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority as they have worked for many years to improve access to clean water and reduce pollution in communities across the city.”
Five decades of Clean Water Act implementation have reduced direct pollution discharges to our nation’s waters and improved wastewater and stormwater infrastructure. This progress was built on strong partnerships between EPA, and state, local, and Tribal governments as well as community and environmental organizations, industry, and agriculture.
The City of Camden and the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority have been long-time recipients of New Jersey’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund made possible by annual federal capital investments through EPA. Over the past 20 years, Camden has received $312 million that has helped provide resilient sewer and stormwater infrastructure. These federal investments have helped fund projects to address frequent street flooding, reduce discharges from combined sewer overflows, and redevelop brownfields with public parks that integrate green infrastructure to counter the impacts of pollution and climate change on local communities. Up to $150 million is expected to fund additional Clean Water State Revolving Fund projects in Camden during the next five years of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law implementation.
“The Clean Water Act has transformed our waterways, and improved and strengthened water infrastructure in Camden and across New Jersey,” said Senator Bob Menendez. “I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill that builds upon the success of the Clean Water Act to ensure families have access to clean waterways that provide drinking water, recreation, and so many other valuable functions to communities across the country.”
“The Clean Water Act has been an overwhelming success, significantly reducing pollution in America’s rivers, lakes, and streams since its passage 50 years ago,” said Senator Cory Booker. “For communities such as Camden, it has helped restore iconic waterways, improve water infrastructure, and revitalize environmentally distressed areas. We must continue to make critical infrastructure investments that will guarantee clean water for all Americans, especially Black and Brown people who are disproportionately burdened by water pollution and other environmental injustices.”
“The Clean Water Act has helped protect the water we drink for 50 years,” said Congressman Norcross. “Before this landmark legislation, hazardous waste in the Delaware River, Cooper River, and Mantua Creek put millions of South Jersey families at risk, including mine. I’m proud that we have made historic investments in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that protect our children for years to come.”
“Here in Camden, throughout the Garden State, and across our nation many rivers and streams are healthier today than they were 50 years ago thanks to the Clean Water Act,” said New Jersey Commissioner of Environmental Protection Shawn M. LaTourette. “New Jersey has a long, proud, and bipartisan history of improving water quality through infrastructure investments and legal protections because we see so clearly the economic, health, and environmental benefits of cleaner waterways. That commitment led the Murphy Administration to add new protections for hundreds of miles of high-quality streams—including the Cooper River here in Camden—to help ensure that our children and theirs continue to enjoy cleaner water.”
“The Clean Water Act has transformed waterways in post-industrial cities like Camden, into places for recreation where residents are able to fish, exercise and simply enjoy nature,” said Camden Mayor Victor Carstarphen. “Camden has such a significant relationship to our rivers and the backchannel of the Delaware. These waterways have been viewed as symbols of rebirth for our City. The New Jersey Clean Water State Revolving Fund allowed Camden to access hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to reduce pollutants and strengthen our water infrastructure. I am grateful to Congressman Donald Norcross, the U.S. EPA, NJDEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette, the Camden County Commissioners, and the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority for their efforts to help improve the quality of life in Camden and provide access to clean water in our community.”
“The impact of the clean water act could not be more tangible than right here in Camden County with our local waterways. In 1972, both the Delaware River, Cooper River and the Big Timber Creek were wrought with environmental degradation from more than 100 previous years of pollution starting at the beginning of the industrial revolution,” Camden County Commissioner Jeffrey Nash said. “These waterways had unspecified amounts of bacteria, heavy metals and the direct outflow of millions of gallons of wastewater directly into the river beds. That said, the clean water act and the simultaneous construction of the CCMUA in the same year have brought our precious natural resources back to life in our region. Today, you can see thousands of residents utilizing these priceless assets for recreation and enjoyment throughout our county. Moving forward, with the help of the EPA and DEP we will continue to maintain and build on the progress of the last 50 years to ensure that our children and grandchildren have clean water to drink and can appreciate the natural beauty these waterways deliver to our community.”
As EPA kicks off a tour celebrating the Clean Water Act, the agency is also collaborating with its partners to chart a course for the next fifty years of progress for clean water. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has provided a historic investment in water infrastructure, including $12.7 billion through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund programs that were established by the 1987 amendments to the Clean Water Act. This funding is a significant investment in the future of clean water in the country. And our investments in improved, resilient infrastructure will have positive impacts on our waterways for years to come.
Leading up to the 50th Anniversary of October 18, the tour will highlight waters that are essential to healthy people, vibrant ecosystems, agricultural productivity, and economic growth. Stops will include the Florida Everglades, Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes, Cuyahoga River, the San Francisco Bay, and more.