Advocates Call For Federal Infrastructure Spending At New Exeter Wastewater Plant

Nov 5, 2019

Lawmakers and advocates were at Exeter’s new wastewater treatment plant Monday to call for more federal spending on infrastructure.

Exeter has spent more than $50 million to upgrade its wastewater system, under a federal mandate to discharge less nitrogen to Great Bay.

Now, the town has a higher-capacity facility with a smaller environmental footprint – thanks in part to state and federal grants. The last piece of the new facility is set to go online in the next few weeks.

Congressman Chris Pappas, who attended the tour, says the Exeter project shows infrastructure spending can improve services for residents and help local businesses grow.

New Hampshire Congressman Chris Pappas, right, says at Exeter’s new wastewater treatment plant that he hopes the House will soon pass a major infrastructure bill.
Credit Annie Ropeik / NHPR

“This should give us all the ammunition we need to understand how tax dollars can be used in an efficient manner to address the needs that exist out there,” Pappas says.

Pappas, a first-term Democrat, sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He says he hopes the House will soon pass its version of major infrastructure bill that already cleared the Senate.

State AFL-CIO president Glenn Brackett says that kind of comprehensive program is critical. 

“We have a recession coming,” Brackett says. “And at the end of the day, infrastructure jobs are going to keep our economy moving.”

The tour of the sewage plant was one of the first stops in a national series held by the nonpartisan advocacy group Build Together.

In addition to clean water infrastructure, they’re calling for more investment in public transit, road and bridge repairs, renewable energy and grid modernization and climate change resiliency.