December 21, 2005


Bipartisan Legislation Will Assist Water Systems Throughout the Country to Comply With Federal Drinking Water Standards

WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee, today introduced the bipartisan Small System Drinking Water Act of 2005, a bill to assist water systems throughout the country in complying with Federal drinking water standards, and require the Environmental Protection Agency to utilize all of its resources provided by the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act amendments (SDWA).


“In Oklahoma we continue to have municipalities struggling with the arsenic rule,” Senator Inhofe said. “Furthermore, nearly 80 percent of our small systems, those serving less than 10,000 people, are not in compliance with the Disinfection Byproducts (DBP) Stage I rule. In EPA’s most recent drinking water needs survey, Oklahoma identified $4.5 billion in infrastructure needs over the next 20 years. This does not include costs imposed by Oklahoma communities to meet Federal clean water requirements. If we are going to impose complicated requirements on water systems, we need to provide them with assistance in implementing those requirements. We simply must ensure that towns across the country have safe and affordable drinking water, and that the law is fair to small and rural communities.”


The Small System Drinking Water Act of 2005:


- 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.