Rep. Tonko Introduces New SDWA Measure

Acknowledging the challenges faced by states and water utilities in implementing the Safe Drinking Water Act, Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) has introduced a wide ranging measure (HR 4653) designed to meet these challenges.  Among the numerous provisions of this bill, the Assistance, Quality, and Affordability (AQUA) Act, are those to:

  • significantly increase funding for the DWSRF and create new grant programs for lead service line replacement and to improve water system resiliency and sustainability;
  • modify the “disadvantaged community” provisions to require states to reserve at least 6% of their SRF funds to assist persistent violations;
  • add new requirements for electronic data reporting, Davis Bacon compliance, and codify American Iron and Steel requirements;
  • require EPA to determine types, number, and frequency of required follow up inspections for each class of SDWA violation; and
  • require EPA to develop a strategic plan to manage and mitigate drought risks; carry out a study on pharmaceuticals and personal care products; develop criteria for effective water loss and leak control.

The attached Section-by-Section analysis provides additional information and detail on the bill’s provisions.  The measure has been referred to the House Energy & Commerce Committee for consideration.

Separately, Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) has introduced a reauthorization of the DWSRF and the CWSRF that contains proposed DWSRF funding levels similar to those in the Tonko measure.  Cardin’s bill (S 2583) is titled the “Firm, Unwavering National Dedication to (FUND) Water Act” and has been referred to the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee.  (The document entitled, “AQUA 2016 section-by-section” accompanies this article.)

Attachment — AQUA 2016 section-by-section