Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said Friday that a $1 billion sewage-cleaning program could help save taxpayers money and reduce the amount of pollutants that pollute the water and land.
“It’s not just the cost,” Price said in a briefing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The cost is not only the amount but the number of people, the number that have to be treated, and that’s a significant number.”
The plan, which is in the works, would help eliminate the health risks associated with the use of lead-based paint and other chemicals.
The new plan, announced in April, would also eliminate the use by private companies of the controversial wastewater treatment technology known as microdisinfection.
The plan would also provide an estimated $1 million in tax credits to encourage private companies to invest in sewage-treatment technology.
Price said the federal government could offer up to $200,000 in credits to private companies for the development of microdisinverter systems, and $10,000 for businesses to hire the people needed to conduct the tests.
The government would also be required to hire up to 25 people per week for the project.
While the federal plan would be more than twice the $4.6 billion spent in fiscal year 2018, the total savings to the federal Treasury would be about $400 million per day.
The total cost would be less than the cost of $400,000 of microfilters and other waste treatment equipment used to treat sewage and would be lower than the costs of $1,000 per day per person that would be spent on wastewater treatment by private firms.
Price’s comments come just weeks after President Donald Trump announced a $400 billion stimulus package.
Trump had said the stimulus would pay for the sewage-cleanup program and provide tax credits for businesses.