NGWA Applauds Senator Baldwin’s Introduction of Healthy Drinking Water Affordability Act

Published On: March 17, 2023By Categories: Newsline

Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced on March 15 the bipartisan Healthy Drinking Water Affordability Act, or the Healthy H2O Act, to provide grants for water testing and treatment technology directly to individuals and nonprofits in rural communities.

Currently, nearly 43 million Americans—primarily in rural communities—rely exclusively on groundwater delivered through private wells for their drinking water. Currently, these sources are not subject to the same oversight and testing for contamination of public water sources. Water quality improvement systems installed at the faucet or within a building can provide immediate and ongoing protection from known and emerging water contaminants, like PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), lead, and nitrates.

“The role of private water wells in our nation’s infrastructure is too often overlooked and under supported,” said NGWA President Jason House, LG, PG. “Millions of Americans depend on private wells as their source of drinking water so we must find new ways to ensure it is safe and healthy to consume. We applaud Senator Baldwin’s introduction of the Healthy H2O Act and thank her for her support in providing clean water to families throughout the country.”

The Healthy H2O Act would provide grants for water quality testing and the purchase and installation of point-of-use or point-of-entry water quality improvement systems that remove or significantly reduce contaminants from drinking water. Grants would be provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture directly to individuals and to nonprofits in rural areas, specifically to those in communities with a population under 10,000, to help people test their water and install a water treatment product if needed.

The Healthy H2O Act will continue to be necessary following the Biden administration’s announcement on March 14 that it will pursue the first-ever national drinking water standard for six different PFAS. While public water systems have access to federal infrastructure assistance through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Drinking and Clean Water State Revolving Funds, the Healthy H2O Act will provide solutions to those accessing water through private wells that are not subject to the same drinking water standards and do not have access to the EPA funding.

Expanding grants for private water well owners will be one of the topics discussed at the 2023 NGWA Smart Water Policies Fly-In, March 22-23 in Washington, D.C.

The full text of this legislation is available here. A one-pager on this legislation is available here.

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