U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Water. February 1994.
ADMINISTRATION'S RECOMMENDATIONS
for
SAFE DRINKING WATER ACT REAUTHORIZATION
In September, 1993, the Administration submitted to Congress a package often recommendations
for Sqfe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) reauthorization. These recommendations are a package
which, taken together, address the fundamental issues surrounding implementation of the
SDWA. The recommendations are summarized below.
1	Establish A Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Marty communities and water
suppliers lack the financial capability to meet the rising costs of SDWA compliance. A
State revolving fund would provide low or zero interest loans to help water systems comply
with the provisions of the SDWA and protect the safety of drinking water.
2	Maintain State Primacy Through An Optional SDWA User Fee The Federal/State
partnership for drinking water is in jeopardy due to inadequate funding and rising program
responsibilities. The SDWA should require States to develop plans for implementing a
well-run primacy program. States that identify funding problems in their plan should have
the option of establishing a dedicated State "drinking water protection fund" into which
SDWA fees would be deposited. If the optional fund is established by the State, the fees
would be used, in conjunction with other resources, to cover the cost of State services and
functions related to SDWA implementation. If a State loses authority for implementing the
SDWA program, the fees would be paid to the Federal government to cover the cost of
EPA's administration of the program in that State.
3	Implement Programs To Protect Sources Of Drinking Water No level of monitoring
and treatment can protect against man-made contaminants as reliably as preventing
contamination in the first place. Requiring States, in cooperation with public water
suppliers and local government entities, to develop and implement a source water protection
program for both ground water and surface water will help prevent pollution, thereby
reducing the long-term costs associated with monitoring and treatment.
4	Provide Flexibility For States With Enhanced Source Water Protection Programs
States with primary enforcement authority for the Public Water Supply Supervision
Program should be allowed, with approval from EPA, to develop alternative monitoring and
treatment approaches for public water supply systems with "enhanced" local (or area-wide)
source water protection programs. To support the development of these prevention-based
programs, such activities should be eligible for funding under the Drinking Water State
Revolving Fund (see recommendation #1).

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5	Ensure Viability Of Small Systems Eighty-seven percent of community water systems
are small systems (serving less than 3300 persons). Many of these systems lack the
financial, managerial, and technical capacity to meet the requirements of the SDWA. To
address these problems, States should adopt programs to improve system capabilities and
prevent the formation of new non-viable systems. Through sharing of administrative
functions and other restructuring options, many small systems may find they are better able
to afford the costs of providing water and complying with the regulations. An estimated
one half of the 50,000 small community water systems would benefit from restructuring.
6	Establish "Best Available Technology" (BAT) Alternative For Small Systems Due to
economies of scale, treatment technologies that are affordable for large systems often are
not affordable for small systems. Small system "BAT" provides a streamlined process for
States to grant 5-year treatment variances to groups of eligible systems that install
affordable technology and take other practical steps to protect public health.
7	Train And Certify Systems Operators Forty-five States currently have operator
certification programs. However, most States exempt small systems to some extent. States
should be required to implement a complete program for operator certification and training
as a condition of primacy. EPA would define minimum program criteria and address the
role of certified operators as appropriate within individual drinking water regulations.
8	Improve The Process For Selecting Contaminants For Regulation EPA is currently
required by the SDWA to establish standards for an additional 25 contaminants every 3
years regardless of health risk. This process should be replaced with a new process
whereby EPA, in consultation with States and the Science Advisory Board, would identify
priority contaminants and determine an appropriate regulatory response based on health risk
and occurrence. EPA would categorize contaminants into 2 tracks. Track 1 would warrant
immediate regulation based on analysis of risk and occurrence data. Track 2 contaminants
would receive further study before decisions are made regarding the need for regulatory
action.
9	Increase Flexibility For Setting Compliance Timeframes Under current law, drinking
water standards become effective 18 months after EPA promulgation. In many
circumstances, this timeframe is not realistic for systems that need to install treatment,
particularly when major construction is necessary. EPA should have explicit authority to
specify, within regulations, reasonably expeditious compliance timeframes of up to 60
months.
10	Streamline And Strengthen Enforcement Provisions The SDWA lacks enforcement
authorities found in other environmental statutes. Enforcement authorities within the
SDWA should be combined and revised to (1) provide uniform administrative, civil
judicial, and criminal enforcement authorities which are more consistent with other statutes
administered by EPA, and (2) increase deterrence and improve compliance with the law.

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