Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA): Selected Regulatory and Legislative Issues [Updated September 10, 2008]   [open pdf - 172KB]

This is an updated report from the Congressional Research Service on the regulatory and legislative issues of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). "Much progress has been made in assuring the quality of public water supplies since the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) was first enacted in 1974. Public water systems must meet extensive regulations, and public water system management has become a much more complex and professional endeavor. […] Despite such progress, however, an array of issues and challenges remain. In the 110th Congress, key issues have involved infrastructure funding needs, related compliance issues, and concerns caused by detections of unregulated contaminants in drinking water, such as perchlorate and pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs). Another issue involves the adequacy of existing regulations (such as trichloroethylene) and EPA's pace in reviewing and potentially revising older standards. […] Although funding authority for most SDWA programs expired in FY2003, Congress continues to appropriate funds annually for these programs. No broad reauthorization bills have been proposed, as EPA, states, and water systems continue efforts to implement and comply with the requirements of the 1996 law and new regulations. […] The issue of the affordability of drinking water regulations, such as those for arsenic, radium, and disinfection by-products, has merged with the larger debate over what is the appropriate federal role in assisting communities with financing drinking water infrastructure. Water infrastructure financing legislation has been offered in recent Congresses to authorize increased funding for the DWSRF program and to provide grant assistance for small communities. In the 110th Congress, bills have been introduced to provide technical, financial, and other compliance assistance to small communities."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL34201
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