WASHINGTON, DC, May 10, 2010 -- Today Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Rep. Edward J. Markey, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, released legislation that will reauthorize and increase funding for the drinking water state revolving fund (SRF) under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The "Assistance, Quality, and Affordability Act of 2010" will amend SDWA to increase assistance to states, water systems, and disadvantaged communities, encourage good financial and environmental management of water systems, strengthen EPA enforcement authority, reduce lead in drinking water, and strengthen the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program.
"Drinking water infrastructure is a pressing issue in so many of our communities," said Chairman Waxman. "This bill will increase compliance with SDWA requirements nationwide, protect human health, assist disadvantaged communities, and ensure the provision of safe and affordable drinking water for years to come."
"Safe drinking water is an absolute necessity," said Chairman Markey. "As the recent Boston water main break has shown us, any threat to that vital resource can disrupt an entire region. This bill not only increases the amount of money available for critical drinking water infrastructure, it also modernizes the program, giving greater weight to projects that use green technology to improve energy or water efficiency and those that create water delivery back-up systems in order to avoid the sort of major emergency Boston and its suburbs just experienced. Additionally, our legislation includes the text of my bill, H.R. 5210, the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Enhancement Act, to improve EPA's efforts to address the health threat posed by chemicals that can interfere with the hormone system of the body."
The drinking water SRF was created in the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments to provide capitalization grants to states to award infrastructure loans to water systems. The funds are used to increase compliance with drinking water standards, protect public health, and assist the water systems most in need. Our nation's water systems serve over 272 million people, and, according to EPA, are facing infrastructure bills with the potential to climb to $334 billion over the next 17 years as our existing infrastructure ages. In order to curb that growth in infrastructure needs, this bill will encourage water systems to anticipate replacement and rehabilitation needs and plan for the future. It will also improve the abilities of states to prioritize projects that promote efficiency, sustainability, and long-term viability of water systems.
The Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the legislation this Thursday, May 13, at 9:30 am in 2322 Rayburn House Office Building.