PDF _ RL31243 - Safe Drinking Water Act: A Summary of the Act and Its Major Requirements
21-May-2008; Mary Tiemann; 20 p.

Update: Previous releases:
November 27, 2007

Abstract: This 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, 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 Heath Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-188).

The Safe Drinking Water Act, 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 adminis- tered 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 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 cross-reference sections of the act with the major U.S. Code sections of the codified statute.

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Topics: Water, Legislative, Information

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