Markey, Senate Democrats Introduce Bill to Help Small and Disadvantaged Communities Improve the Safety of their Drinking Water

 

CLEARR Drinking Water Act would authorize more than $1 billion to improve public water infrastructure for the 21st century

 

Washington (July 10, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and 11 other Democratic Senators today reintroduced the Contaminant and Lead Electronic Accounting and Reporting Requirements (CLEARR) for Drinking Water Act, legislation to authorize more than $1 billion in federal funding to help small and disadvantaged communities replace contaminated water infrastructure to comply with Safe Drinking Water Act requirements. The CLEARR Drinking Water Act also directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish requirements for electronic reporting of water quality testing results, update the requirements for repeat- or serious-offender water systems, and create a system so that residents can request in-home water quality tests from the EPA and receive the test results in an expedited manner.

 

“A person’s skin color, neighborhood or net worth shouldn't determine access to clean and safe drinking water,” said Senator Markey. “We must take swift action to eradicate the environmental contaminants of the 20th century and invest in infrastructure for the 21st century. Every community deserves to be free of lead and other drinking water contaminants that threaten public health. The CLEARR Act combines much-needed funding for improvements with the latest electronic monitoring, because it’s impossible to properly manage what’s not accurately measured.”

 

The following Senators have co-sponsored Senator Markey’s legislation: Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

 

A copy of the legislation can be found HERE.

 

The CLEARR Drinking Water Act would:

  • Increase the authorized funding levels for the Assistance for Small and Disadvantaged Communities program from $60 million per year through FY2021 to $230 million for FY2019 and $300 million each year for FY2020 – FY2023
  • Develop a system for expedited water quality testing, create an electronic database of public health test results that could help monitors identify health threats sooner, and educate the public about the potential effects of drinking water contaminants and the assistance that the EPA can provide to ensure safe drinking water
  • Provide advice and technical assistance to a state and public water system to help bring those systems into compliance with drinking water regulation
  • Establish requirements for the electronic reporting of water system compliance data
  • Require the head of the state agency that has primary enforcement responsibility for drinking water to notify the EPA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and appropriate state and county health agencies when a drinking water violation has the potential to have serious adverse effects on human health

 

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