Amendment will assist households impacted by contaminants in water from either public water systems or private wells
Washington, D.C. – Today, by a vote of 89-2, the Senate passed the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021, a comprehensive package that will invest billions of dollars in drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in order to increase economic growth, enhance the health and well-being of American families, and prioritize environmental concerns. The bill, which will now be considered by the House of Representatives, includes an amendment co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Angus King (I-ME) to allow states to assist more households impacted by unregulated contaminants like PFAS and heavy metals and carcinogens.
“Maintaining access to clean, reliable drinking water is essential to protect the health of the public, our environment, and the economy,” said Senator Collins. “All Americans should be able to have confidence that the water from their faucets is safe to use. Although Maine is home to some of the cleanest sources of water in the country, the increasing prevalence of pollutants like PFAS require action to keep our drinking water pure. This legislation makes significant investments to improve our water infrastructure systems. Our amendment will further help families and businesses by boosting resources to protect water supplies in both public water systems and private wells in Maine and across the country.”
“Communities across Maine are struggling with the impacts of PFAS and other harmful contaminants in our nation’s water systems, which put our citizens’ health at risk, degrade our environment, and poison important farmland,” said Senator King. “In order to properly respond to these challenges, we must expand the federal resources available to local leaders. This bipartisan amendment will provide added flexibility for states and localities as they work to respond to the threats of these pollutants, strengthening an already important piece of legislation that will make key investments in water infrastructure across Maine.”
The Environmental Protection Agency oversees several programs aimed at supporting clean and safe water resources. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund, created in 1987, and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, created in 1996, provide loan assistance to support wastewater and drinking water projects. The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program, created in 2014, provides an additional credit source for water infrastructure projects. The Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021 that passed the Senate today reauthorizes and strengthens these programs.
The bipartisan amendment co-sponsored by Senators Collins and King would modify the Environmental Protection Agency’s Assistance for Small and Disadvantaged Communities program to allow states to assist more households—including those that rely on private wells—impacted by unregulated contaminants like PFAS and heavy metals and carcinogens, such as lead, arsenic and radon. The amendment would expand eligibility of the program to allow states to use funding on behalf of small and disadvantaged communities.
Click HERE to read the full text of the amendment.