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Senators Collins, Baldwin Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Provide Clean Drinking Water for Rural Americans

Healthy H20 Act, co-sponsored by Senator King, would help the 43 million households that rely on private wells to get tools to test their water and address emerging contaminants like PFAS

Washington, D.C. –U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced 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 non-profits in rural communities. The Healthy H2O Act is co-sponsored by Senators Angus King (I-ME),  Tina Smith (D-MN), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).

Currently, nearly 43 million households, primarily in rural communities, rely exclusively on groundwater delivered through private wells for their drinking water. 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, lead, and nitrates.

“Maintaining and upgrading water and wastewater systems is vital to ensuring the economic and environmental health of our communities,” said Senator Collins. “This bipartisan legislation will help reduce health-based contaminants like PFAS in drinking water, increase consumer confidence, and protect public health.”

“Regardless of where you live, every Wisconsinite deserves access to clean drinking water and an environment free of toxic chemicals. Across our state, many rural and smaller communities are struggling to identify, treat, and get rid of emerging chemicals that endanger our health, especially that of our children,” said Senator Baldwin. “I am excited to partner with my Republican colleague to introduce legislation that will cut costs and expand access to water testing and treatment for families in rural communities so that when they turn on the faucet, they can be confident our drinking water is safe.”

“Rural Maine families shouldn’t have to worry about toxic chemicals, like PFAS, poisoning their drinking water,” said Senator King. “It’s imperative that the many Maine homes relying on private wells have the resources to test their water and access treatment when needed. The Healthy H2O Act will provide both homeowners and community organizations much-needed grants to expand quality testing and make overdue water technology improvements. It will make a real difference for people that would not otherwise have access to clean water support. I am excited to partner with Senator Collins on this important effort to protect Maine families.”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 non-profits 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 full text of this legislation is available here. A one-pager on this legislation is available here.