INHOFE INTRODUCES BIPARTISAN SMALL SYSTEM DRINKING WATER ACT OF 2007
Bipartisan Legislation Will Assist Small Water Systems Across The Country Comply With Federal Drinking Water Standards
WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment & Public Works Committee, together with Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE.) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE.), last night introduced the Small System Drinking Water Act of 2007, a bipartisan bill to assist water systems in Oklahoma and throughout the country in complying with Federal drinking water standards, and require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to utilize all of its resources provided by the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act amendments (SDWA).
“Municipalities in Oklahoma and across the country continue to struggle to meet Federal drinking water standards,” Senator Inhofe said. “Numerous small systems face tremendous challenges with the Disinfection Byproducts (DBP) Stage I rule and many other small systems -- who traditionally buy water -- are now struggling with Stage 2 of the rule.
“This issue is particularly concerning to Oklahoma. The EPA’s most recent drinking water needs survey identified $4.5 billion in Oklahoma infrastructure needs over the next 20 years. Importantly, this number does not include costs imposed on Oklahoma communities to meet Federal clean water requirements.
“If the federal government is going to impose complicated requirements on water systems, we need to provide them with assistance in implementing those requirements. My bill will require the federal government to live up to its obligations and require the EPA to use all of the tools given the Agency in the SDWA.”
THE SMALL SYSTEM DRINKING WATER ACT OF 2007:
- Reauthorizes the technical assistance program in the SDWA;
- Creates a pilot program to demonstrate new technologies and approaches for systems of all sizes to comply with the rules;
- Requires the EPA to convene a working group to examine the science behind the rules compared to new developments since their publication;
- Directs the EPA to convene a working group to identify barriers to the use of the following approaches – point of entry treatment, point of use treatment and package plants; and
- Prohibits the EPA from enforcing a Federal standard against a water system unless that water system has received the appropriate amount of money to pay the Federal share of the upgrade.