Gains for Drinking Water Safety: America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018


The president recently signed into law a bill that includes items of interest to drinking water advocates. S. 3021, America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (AWIA) is the 2018 authorization for the Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA). AWIA, passed in the Senate by a 99-1 vote, was sponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and developed by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

As POLITICO wrote on October 11, 2018, “It's arguably the biggest infrastructure accomplishment in the first two years of the Trump administration … It also reauthorizes the Safe Drinking Water Act for the first time in two decades and includes a new requirement that smaller communities monitor their water for emerging contaminants.”

The bill’s budget authorizations and amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act include:

VOLUNTARY SCHOOL AND CHILD CARE PROGRAM LEAD TESTING GRANT PROGRAM ENHANCEMENT Section 2006

  • Technical assistance and prioritization of low-income areas for this program administered by the Environmental Protection Agency – increases previous annual authorization of $20 million to $25 million for each year, 2019-2021

  • Drinking water fountain replacement for schools (for fountains manufactured before 1988) with priority to local educational authorities based on economic need – $5 million for each year, 2019-2021

INNOVATIVE WATER TECHNOLOGY GRANT PROGRAM Section 2007

Universities, non-profits, and public water systems are eligible for grants to support development, testing or technical assistance for projects to improve drinking water supply or quality – $10 million for each year, 2019-2021

IMPROVED CONSUMER CONFIDENCE REPORTS Section 2008

To improve the accuracy, readability, clarity, understandability, frequency and electronic delivery of Public Water System reporting to customers

STUDY ON INTRACTABLE WATER SYSTEMS Section 2003

Calls for a report by EPA, together with USDA and HHS and due within two years, to identify “intractable” water systems — those that serve fewer than 1,000 people and whose operator has failed in service, including to maintain them so as to prevent a potential public health hazard

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