Cyanotoxin Legislation Introduced

Just before Thanksgiving, Representative Bob Latta (R-OH) introduced the Drinking Water Protection Act to require EPA to develop a strategic risk assessment and management plan for cyanotoxins found in drinking water provided by public water systems.  This requirement would mean amending the SDWA and the measure has been referred to the House Energy & Commerce Committee for attention.  Latta sits on that Committee.

The initial plan would have to be submitted to Congress within 90 days of enactment and periodically thereafter.  Per the Congressional Research Service analysis, the plan would outline specific steps and timelines for the following activities:

  • Evaluate the risk to human health from drinking water contaminated with cyanotoxins;
  • Establish, publish, and update a comprehensive list of cyanotoxins that are harmful to human health;
  • Summarize the known adverse human health effects of cyanotoxins and the factors that cause cyanobacteria to grow and make toxins;
  • Determine whether to publish health advisories for harmful cyanotoxins and establish relevant guidance;
  • Recommend feasible treatment options; and
  • Enter into cooperative agreements with, and provide technical assistance to, affected states and public water systems to manage risks associated with cyanotoxins.

Separately, the Comptroller General of the United States is also called on to submit a report within that same 90 day window that includes an inventory of Federal funds expended between FYs 10 and 14 on the issue of public health concerns related to harmful algal blooms and identification of the specific purposes for which funds were authorized and/or expended.  No additional funding is authorized for this effort.