AWWA informs Congress of efforts to address lead in drinking water

At a hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) detailed several initiatives under way to address lead in drinking water and pledged that the association will "continue to work with Congress and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on this important issue"...

WASHINGTON, DC, March 11, 2005 -- At a hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) detailed several initiatives under way to address lead in drinking water and pledged that the association will "continue to work with Congress and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on this important issue."

Stephen Estes-Smargiassi, director of planning at Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, who delivered the AWWA testimony, said, "Since AWWA testified to this committee in May last year, we have organized workshops, webcasts and sessions at national and regional conferences on managing lead exposure."

"Our peer-reviewed journal has published new research," he added. "We direct mailed information to raise member utility awareness about lead in drinking water at homes and in schools, as well as incorporated practical advise on addressing lead into our routine publications. We have also taken a number of steps beyond raising awareness about the lead in drinking water issue."

The complete testimony is available at www.awwa.org/Advocacy/govtaff/govnew.cfm.

Estes-Smargiassi spoke about several of AWWA's ongoing initiatives, including:
-- Development of materials to help drinking water utilities proactively evaluate changes in treatment or operations that minimize the possibility of lead leaching into drinking water.
-- Creation of a guide that encourages public water systems to undertake full lead service line replacement and provides guidance on how to develop such a program.
-- Development of consumer information to raise public awareness about lead in drinking water.
-- Preparation of a guide that provides drinking water suppliers with information and tools they may use to assist school and child care administrators in addressing lead in drinking water.

Other witnesses who testified at the hearing included:
Benjamin H. Grumbles, acting assistant administrator, EPA Office of Water; Donald S. Welch, regional administrator, EPA Region III; Thomas P. Jacobus, general manager, Washington Aqueduct, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Jerry Johnson, general manager, District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DCWASA); Erik D. Olson, senior attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council, and James R. Elder, an independent consultant.

Established in 1881, AWWA is the oldest and largest nonprofit scientific and educational organization dedicated to safe drinking water in North America. The largest organization of water professionals in the world, it has over 57,000 members worldwide and its 4,700 utility members serve 80% of the U.S. population. It's one of the most authoritative resources for knowledge, information and advocacy to improve the quality and supply of drinking water in North America and beyond.

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