U.S. senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) introduced legislation called “The Safe Drinking Water Assistance Act” on May 1 that would help address contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The legislation was also introduced in the last Congress.
The bill contains provisions that, if enacted, would:
- Direct the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to create a program to provide federal support and technical assistance to communities that have detected emerging contaminants in their water supply.
- Establish and maintain a comprehensive database of resources to assist states and water stakeholders with testing for emerging contaminants.
- Direct the EPA and the Department of Health and Human Services to convene an interagency working group to improve federal efforts to identify and respond to emerging contaminants.
- Direct the Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop an interagency federal research strategy to improve the identification, analysis and treatment of emerging contaminants.
The National Ground Water Association is a supporter of the legislation because of the strong interagency federal framework that would be created and because of the resources that would be made available to federal, state, and local communities affected.
“The bipartisan leadership shown by Senators Portman and Shaheen in introducing this legislation takes a meaningful step toward addressing the challenges posed by PFAS contamination,” says Lauren Schapker, NGWA’s director of government affairs.
The legislation is also supported by the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies and the Water Quality Association.