CFATS May Still Consider Water/Wastewater

Two House and one Senate bill to reauthorize the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standard (CFATS) may see Floor action before Congress adjourns later this year.

CFATS has been funded year-by-year since its inception in 2006 and the chemical industry is anxious to have the funding made permanent to provide some stability for long range planning.  In its present form, CFATS requires the chemical industry to take on risk assessment and reduction measures under DHS oversight.  There has been great interest in expanding the regulatory umbrella to include water and wastewater treatment facilities and to require adoption of inherently safer technologies (IST) as a means to eliminate or significantly diminish the use of gaseous chlorine as a disinfectant.

None of the pending legislative proposals (HR 901; HR 908; and S 473) include language that speaks to IST or water/wastewater facilities.  However, as pressure mounts for at least one of the legislative proposals to be passed, there is the potential for Floor amendments to be offered by supporters of IST and expanded regulatory coverage to include drinking water and wastewater.  Democrats have criticized all of the bills for not going far enough.  What will ultimately happen remains anyone’s guess at this point.