Costello helps House pass safe drinking water legislation
WASHINGTON -- Legislation that would strengthen requirements for notifying customers about unsafe levels of lead and other contamination of public drinking water passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support, Congressman Ryan Costello (PA-06) announced Thursday.
Costello voted to pass H.R. 4470, the Safe Drinking Water Act Improved Compliance Awareness Act. The bill passed by a 416-2 margin and goes to the U.S. Senate for consideration.
Costello said he supported the legislation to make sure communities in his district and across the country know as quickly as possible whether there's a serious problem with the safety of their water supply. He added the House acted swiftly in the wake of reports that the EPA and officials in Michigan waited several months to notify residents of Flint, Michigan about excessive amounts of lead in tap water.
"Families and communities deserve to have accurate and timely information if the water coming out of their faucets poses any health risk," Costello said. "The colossal communication breakdown between federal and state officials in Flint, Michigan cannot happen again in any community. And so I was proud to support this legislation to make sure those responsible for protecting the public and providing safe water do their jobs.
"The legislation would:
•Require public notification when enforceable requirements for lead in drinking water are exceeded.
o Public water systems must notify their consumers if the lead action level is exceeded in their drinking water system.
o When a lead action level is exceeded for the 90th percentile of a public water system’s customers, (causing significant potential for adverse health consequences) EPA must quickly notify the public if the state or local drinking water system fails to do so.
•Require EPA to create a strategic plan for handling and improving information flow between drinking water utilities, the states, EPA, and affected drinking water consumers when there is an enforceable lead exceedance in drinking water.
•Ensure all levels of government communicate with each other.
•Require consumer notification when water being transported in a lead pipe is sufficiently corrosive that it could leach lead into public drinking water.
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