report summarizes the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and its major programs and regulatory
requirements. It excerpts, with several additions, the SDWA chapter of CRS
Report RL30798, Environmental Laws: Summaries of Major Statutes
Administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, which provides
summaries of the principal environmental statutes administered by the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This report includes the drinking water
security provisions added to the SDWA by the Public Health Security and
Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-188).
The SDWA, Title XIV of the Public Health Service Act, is the key federal law
for protecting public water supplies from harmful contaminants. First
enacted in 1974 and substantially amended in 1986 and 1996, the act is
administered through programs that establish standards and treatment
requirements for public water supplies, control underground injection of wastes, finance
infrastructure projects, and protect sources of drinking water. The 1974 law
established the current federal-state arrangement in which states may be
delegated primary implementation and enforcement authority for the
drinking water program. The state-administered Public Water Supply
Supervision (PWSS) Program remains the basic program for regulating the nation’s
public water systems, and 49 states have assumed this authority.
The last major reauthorization of the act was done through the Safe Drinking
Water Act Amendments of 1996 (P.L. 104-182), which generally authorized
appropriations for SDWA programs through FY2003. As with other
EPA-administered statutes having expired funding authority, Congress has
continued to appropriate funds for the ongoing SDWA programs.
In addition to reviewing key programs and requirements of the SDWA, this report
includes statistics on the number and types of regulated public water
systems. It also provides tables that list all major amendments, with the
year of enactment and public law number, and that crossreference sections
of the act with the major U.S. Code sections of the codified statute.
Date of Report: October 25, 2012
Number of Pages: 22 Order Number: RL31243 Price: $29.95
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