U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Helps Reintroduce Legislation to Improve the Safety of Drinking Water in Small and Disadvantaged Communities

CLEARR Drinking Water Act would authorize more than $1 billion to help small and disadvantaged communities improve the safety of drinking water

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and 12 other Senators, led by Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA), reintroduced the Contaminant and Lead Electronic Accounting and Reporting Requirements (CLEARR) for Drinking Water Act to authorize more than $1 billion in federal funding to help small and disadvantaged communities replace contaminated water infrastructure to comply with Safe Drinking Water Act requirements.

The CLEARR Drinking Water Act also directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide grants for community and research partnerships on drinking water contaminants, establish requirements for electronic reporting of water quality testing results and update the requirements for repeat- or serious-offender water systems.

“Safe drinking water is a priority for every community and is essential to the economic health of Wisconsin’s communities,” said Senator Baldwin. “Too often though, small and underserved communities lack the resources to solve our most pressing water challenges, including lead and other contaminants. That’s why I’m working to make sure that every community across Wisconsin has access to clean drinking water, and safe and reliable water infrastructure.”

“Skin color, neighborhood or net worth should never determine access to clean and safe drinking water,” said Senator Markey, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “We can eradicate the environmental contaminants of the 20th century by investing in infrastructure for the 21st century. Every community deserves to be free of lead and other drinking water contaminants that threaten public health. The CLEARR Act would provide funding for critical improvements with the latest electronic monitoring.”

The CLEARR Drinking Water Act would:

  • Increase the authorized funding levels for the Assistance for Small and Disadvantaged Communities program from $60 million per year through FY2021 to $230 million for FY2020 and $300 million each year for FY2021–FY2024;
  • Provide advice and technical assistance to state and public water systems to help bring those systems into compliance with drinking water regulations;
  • Establish requirements for the electronic reporting of water system compliance data; and
  • Require the head of the state agency that has primary enforcement responsibility for drinking water to notify the EPA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and appropriate state and county health agencies when a drinking water violation has the potential to have serious adverse effects on human health.

Other Senators cosponsoring the legislation include Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

The full bill text is available here.