The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) is the principal federal law in the United States intended to ensure safe drinking water for the public. Pursuant to the act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to set standards for drinking water quality and oversee all states, localities, and water suppliers that implement the standards.
The SDWA applies to every public water system (PWS) in the United States. There are currently over 151,000 public water systems providing water to almost all Americans at some time in their lives. The Act does not cover private wells.
|Safe Drinking Water Act|
|Long title||An Act to amend the Public Health Service Act to assure that the public is provided with safe drinking water, and for other purposes|
|Enacted by||the 93rd United States Congress|
|Effective||December 16, 1974|
|Public law||Pub. L. 93-523|
|Statutes at Large||88 Stat. 1660 (1974)|
|U.S.C. sections created||42 U.S.C. § 300f|
|Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1986,|
Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996
The SDWA requires EPA to establish National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWRs) for contaminants that may cause adverse public health effects.
The regulations include both mandatory requirements (Maximum Contaminant Levels, or MCLs; and Treatment Techniques) and nonenforceable health goals (Maximum Contaminant Level Goals, or MCLGs) for each included contaminant. As of 2016, there were 88 organic and inorganic chemicals with minimum contaminant levels. MCLs have additional significance because they can be used under the Superfund law as "Applicable or Relevant and Appropriate Requirements" in cleanups of contaminated sites on the National Priorities List.
For some contaminants, EPA establishes a Treatment Technique (TT) instead of an MCL. TTs are enforceable procedures that drinking water systems must follow in treating their water for a contaminant.
Federal drinking water standards are organized into six groups:
EPA has issued standards for Cryptosporidium, Giardia lamblia, Legionella, coliform bacteria and enteric viruses. EPA also requires two microorganism-related tests to indicate water quality: plate count and turbidity. The agency issued its initial Surface Water Treatment Rule in 1989, to address contamination from viruses, bacteria and Giardia lamblia. The most recent amendment is the Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule, promulgated in 2006, requiring public water systems to employ a Treatment Technique to control Cryptosporidium and other pathogens.
The 1986 amendments require EPA to set standards limiting the concentration of lead in public water systems, and defines "lead free" pipes as:
EPA published a white paper in 2016 discussing options for additional revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule.
Secondary drinking water standards are non-regulatory guidelines for aesthetic characteristics, including taste, color, and odor.
EPA issues "health advisories" for some contaminants; some of which have not been regulated with MCLs. Health advisories provide technical information to public health officials about health effects, methods for chemical analysis, and treatment methods. The advisories are not enforceable. EPA was given explicit authority to issue advisories in the 1996 SDWA amendments. As of 2018, health advisories have been issued for the following contaminants.
|Chemical Contaminants||Microbial Contaminants|
|Dacthal (DCPA) and Dacthal degradates||Cryptosporidium|
|2,4- and 2,6- Dinitrotoluene (DNT)||Legionella|
|Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE)|
|Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS)|
The SDWA requires EPA to identify and list unregulated contaminants which may require regulation. The Agency must publish this list, called the Contaminant Candidate List (CCL) every five years. EPA is required to decide whether to regulate at least five or more listed contaminants. EPA uses this list to prioritize research and data collection efforts, which support the regulatory determination process.
As of 2017, EPA has developed four CCLs:
The Natural Resources Defense Council filed a lawsuit in 2016 to accelerate EPA's regulatory process on perchlorate. A federal district court in New York issued a consent decree that initially required EPA to issue a proposed rule in October 2018, and a final rule in December 2019. The modified court order requires EPA to issue a proposed rule by May 28, 2019.
Future NPDWR standards will apply to non-transient non-community water systems (for example, some schools, factories, office buildings, and hospitals that operate their own water systems) because of concern for the long-term exposure of a stable population. It is important to note that EPA's decision to apply future NPDWRs to non-transient non-community water systems may have a significant impact on Department of Energy facilities that operate their own drinking water systems.
Public water systems are required to regularly monitor their water for contaminants. Water samples must be analyzed using EPA-approved testing methods, by laboratories that are certified by EPA or a state agency.
A PWS must notify its customers when it violates drinking water regulations or is providing drinking water that may pose a health risk. Such notifications are provided either immediately, as soon as possible (but within 30 days of the violation) or annually, depending on the health risk associated with the violation. Community water systems—those systems that serve the same people throughout the year—must provide an annual "Consumer Confidence Report" to customers. The report identifies contaminants, if any, in the drinking water and explains the potential health impacts.
Oversight of public water systems is managed by "primacy" agencies, which are either state government agencies, Indian tribes or EPA regional offices. All state and territories, except Wyoming and the District of Columbia, have received primacy approval from EPA, to supervise the PWS in their respective jurisdictions. A PWS is required to submit periodic monitoring reports to its primacy agency. Violations of SDWA requirements are enforced initially through a primacy agency's notification to the PWS, and if necessary following up with formal orders and fines.
The SDWA prohibits any underground injection which endangers drinking water sources. The Ninth Circuit United States Court of Appeals while enforcing this prohibition of “harmful injections into drinking water aquifers” explains that underground injection of even clean water can result in the illegal movement of a fluid containing a contaminant into an USDW:
The SDWA and its implementing regulations are not concerned with whether an injected fluid is itself contaminated. Rather, they are concerned with the result of "injection activity." A permit applicant must show that the proposed activity will not allow "the movement of fluid containing [a] contaminant." Id. Injections of clean water into the ground can cause the movement of contaminants into an aquifer. For example, contaminants may dissolve into clean water as the injected water passes through the soil on its way to an aquifer.:1077
Underground fluid injection can have disastrous consequences for drinking water and, in turn, for human health. Injected fluid is hard to trace once it enters the ground, and polluted aquifers are hard to remediate. Congress' cautious "preventive" approach requires permit applicants to show that their injections will not harm underground sources of drinking water. It presumes, until an applicant shows otherwise, that injections will contaminate an USDW. Although this approach may result in forbidding some injections that would not contaminate an USDW, it is a valid exercise of Congress' authority. :1080
EPA has granted UIC primacy enforcement authority to 34 states for Class I, II, III, IV and V wells. Seven additional states and two tribes have been granted primacy authority for Class II wells only. EPA manages enforcement of Class VI wells directly.
If a state does not take appropriate enforcement action then EPA must issue an order requiring a violator to comply with the requirements, or the agency will initiate a civil enforcement action. The SDWA directly provides for citizen civil actions by 42 U.S.C. § 300j–8,.
Congress amended the SDWA in 2005 to exclude hydraulic fracturing, an industrial process for recovering oil and natural gas, from coverage under the UIC program, except where diesel fuels are used. This exclusion has been called the "Halliburton Loophole". Halliburton is the world's largest provider of hydraulic fracturing services. The measure was a response to a recommendation from the Energy Task Force, chaired by Vice President Dick Cheney in 2001. (Cheney had been Chairman and CEO of Halliburton from 1995 to 2000.)
The act requires states to establish wellhead protection programs to protect underground sources of drinking water. Wellhead protection programs must specify the duties of agencies, determine the wellhead protection areas, identify sources of contaminants, implement control measures to protect the wellhead protection areas, and a contingency plan for alternative drinking water supplies in the event of contamination. Federal agencies having jurisdiction over potential sources of contaminants must comply with all requirements of the state wellhead protection program.
The “Updated Guidance on Invoking Emergency Authority Under Section 1431 Of The Safe Drinking Water Act” shows that 42 U.S.C. § 300i gives the EPA Administrator broad power to protect public water systems and underground sources of drinking water (USDWs).:3 This guidance encourages more widespread use of the EPA's emergency powers.:3 This emergency power is granted when the Administrator receives “information that a contaminant which is present in or likely to enter a public water system or an underground source of drinking water ... which may present an imminent and substantial endangerment to the health of persons” and that appropriate agencies have not acted.:6-7 Since this emergency power protection applies to all USDWs it includes potential future supplies of public water and even private wells.:7-8 The imminent endangerment includes contaminants that lead to chronic health effects that may not be realized for years such as lead and carcinogens.:9-10 To prevent harm from occurring the EPA Administrator may issue administrative orders or commence civil actions even without absolute proof.:11
Whenever the EPA Administrator finds a violation of the Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program and the State does not or cannot act, 42 U.S.C § 300h–2 makes it mandatory for the EPA Administrator to issue an administrative order or to file a civil action to require compliance.
Where and when a citizen can file a petition for judicial review of final actions of the EPA Administrator are specified in 42 U.S.C. § 300j–7. Then by 42 U.S.C. § 300j–8 a citizen may also file against any violator of the SDWA or against the EPA Administrator for failure to take action under the SDWA which is not discretionary. Even the EPA Administrator's emergency administrative orders are final actions subject to judicial review.
In 2004, EPA tested drinking water quality on commercial aircraft and found that 15 percent of tested aircraft water systems tested positive for total coliform bacteria. EPA published a final regulation for aircraft public water systems in 2009. The regulation requires air carriers operating in the U.S. to conduct coliform sampling, management practices, corrective action, public notification, operator training, and reporting and recordkeeping. An airline with a non-complying aircraft must restrict public access to the on-board water system for a specified period.
The SDWA requires each state to delineate the boundaries of areas that public water systems use for their sources of drinking water—both surface and underground sources. Within each source area the origins of regulated contaminants are identified in order to determine the susceptibility of the public water systems. This information can help communities understand the risks to their sources of drinking water.
The SDWA includes a whistleblower protection provision. Employees in the US who believe they were fired or suffered another adverse action related to enforcement of this law have 30 days to file a written complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Prior to the SDWA there were few national enforceable requirements for drinking water. Improvements in testing were allowing the detection of smaller concentrations of contaminant and allowing more tests to be run.
Under state programs, some water works managers mistakenly believed that the major, real threats were behind them and their primary focus was on providing consistent and effective service through aging infrastructure, with major efforts at maintaining the bacteriological quality of drinking water.
The Safe Drinking Water Act was one of several pieces of environmental legislation in the 1970s. Discovery of organic contamination in public drinking water and the lack of enforceable, national standards persuaded Congress to take action.
Historically, up through 1914, drinking water quality in the United States was managed at the state and local level. After that, interstate waters were protected using United States Public Health Service (USPHS) standards. Ultimately the USPHS standards were adopted and expanded as national drinking water standards after passage of the 1974 law.
The 1974 law very clearly defined roles and responsibilities, giving EPA the job of generating scientifically based standards that would be applicable to all water supplies that served 25 or more customers and creating a process for setting new standards. EPA was mandated to contract with the National Academy of Sciences for a major study of contaminants in drinking water that might have health significance and to issue revised regulations once the NAS report was completed.
The 1986 SDWA amendments required EPA to apply future NPDWRs to both community and non-transient non-community water systems when it evaluated and revised current regulations. The first case in which this was applied was the "Phase I" final rule, published on July 8, 1987. At that time NPDWRs were promulgated for certain synthetic volatile organic compounds and applied to non-transient non-community water systems as well as community water systems. This rulemaking also clarified that non-transient non-community water systems were not subject to MCLs that were promulgated before July 8, 1987. The 1986 amendments were signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on June 19, 1986.
In addition to requiring more contaminants to be regulated, the 1986 amendments included:
In 1996, Congress amended the Safe Drinking Water Act to emphasize sound science and risk-based standard setting, small water supply system flexibility and technical assistance, community-empowered source water assessment and protection, public right-to-know, and water system infrastructure assistance through a multibillion-dollar state revolving loan fund. The amendments were signed into law by President Bill Clinton on August 6, 1996.
Through the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Safe Drinking Water Act was amended to exclude the underground injection of any fluids or propping agents other than diesel fuels used in hydraulic fracturing operations from being considered as "underground injections" for the purposes of the law.
Congress passed the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act in 2011. This amendment, effective in 2014, tightened the definition of "lead-free" plumbing fixtures and fittings.
The Drinking Water Protection Act was enacted on August 7, 2015. It required EPA to submit to Congress a strategic plan for assessing and managing risks associated with algal toxins in drinking water provided by public water systems. EPA submitted the plan to Congress in November 2015.
The Grassroots Rural and Small Community Water Systems Assistance Act was signed by President Barack Obama on December 11, 2015. The amendment provides technical assistance to small public water systems, to help them comply with National Primary Drinking Water Regulations.
The Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act added several provisions to the SDWA, along with providing financial assistance to the city of Flint, Michigan in responding to its lead contamination crisis, as well as assistance for other communities. The provisions include:
The SDWA can promote environmental justice by increasing the safety of drinking water in the communities most adversely impacted by water contamination. Communities of color and low-income communities are disproportionately impacted by unsafe drinking water and associated health problems in the United States. Specifically, Native American reservations and communities with dense Latino and African American populations are at higher risk of exposure to drinking water contaminants. Contaminants found in the drinking water of such communities include nitrates, coliform, and lead, which have been linked to cancer, reproductive health problems, gastrointestinal illness, and other health problems. One study found that levels of contaminants in the drinking water of two Nebraska Native American reservations were significantly higher than regional contaminant levels. Another study found that Latino residents in Tucson, Arizona, had higher than average levels of contaminants in their drinking water, which were linked to higher rates of cancer and neurological disorders among residents. Also, it is understood that low-income residents in the Appalachian region of West Virginia are disproportionately exposed to contaminants in drinking water from coal mining in the region.
In addressing the updated priorities associated with the act, EPA states that its first priority is to "promote equity... in disadvantaged, small, and environmental justice communities," specifically addressing that disadvantaged communities face disproportionate risks associated with exposure to contaminated drinking water.
America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (S. 3021, Pub.L. 115–270) is a United States federal law, enacted during the 115th United States Congress, that provides for water infrastructure improvements throughout the country in the areas of:
water resources development
maintenance and repair of dams and reservoirs
public water systems
financing of improvements
technical assistance to small communities.The law also reauthorizes the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014 (WIFIA) which provides expanded financial assistance to communities under the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act.
Also included in the law is the designation of the United States courthouse located at 300 South Fourth Street in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as the "Diana E. Murphy United States Courthouse".American Water Works Association
American Water Works Association (AWWA) is an international non-profit, scientific and educational association founded to improve water quality and supply. Established in 1881, it has a membership (as of 2012) of around 50,000 members worldwide.In reviewing the success of the Safe Drinking Water Act after 1974, senior EPA officials cite the vital role that AWWA played as kind of a non‐threatening meeting ground, particularly at the local level.AWWA members include: water utilities, treatment plant operators and managers, scientists, environmentalists, manufacturers, academics, regulators, and others with an interest in water supply and public health. AWWA works through advocacy, communications, conferences, education and training, science and technology, and local action among 43 AWWA Sections throughout North America.
AWWA launched AWWAIndia, its first international community, in 2015. AWWAIndia's headquarters office is located in Mumbai, India.Citizen suit
In the United States, a citizen suit is a lawsuit by a private citizen to enforce a statute. Citizen suits are particularly common in the field of environmental law.Citizen suits come in three forms. First, a private citizen can bring a lawsuit against a citizen, corporation, or government body for engaging in conduct prohibited by the statute. For example, a citizen can sue a corporation under the Clean Water Act (CWA) for illegally polluting a waterway. Second, a private citizen can bring a lawsuit against a government body for failing to perform a non-discretionary duty. For example, a private citizen could sue the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to promulgate regulations that the CWA required it to promulgate. In a third, less common form, citizens may sue for an injunction to abate a potential imminent and substantial endangerment involving generation, disposal or handling of waste, regardless of whether or not the defendant's conduct violates a statutory prohibition. This third type of citizen suit is analogous to the common law tort of public nuisance. In general, the law entitles plaintiffs who bring successful citizen suits to recover reasonable attorney fees and other litigation costs.In 1970, when amending the Clean Air Act, the United States Congress was inspired by similar legislation in the civil rights arena to begin including specific provisions for citizens to bring suit against violators or government agencies to enforce environmental laws. Today, most anti-pollution laws have provisions for citizen suits and they have become a major means of ensuring compliance with environmental laws. Public-interest environmental legal service organizations, such as Earthjustice and the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic, often prosecute citizen suits. Some non-environmental statutes, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Amendments Act, also contain citizen suit provisions, but the majority of regulatory statutes do not.
Citizens may only bring citizen suits in federal court if they have "standing to sue". To establish standing, the courts have required proof of three elements. First, the plaintiff must have suffered an “injury in fact”—an invasion of a legally protected interest which is (a) concrete and particularized and (b) “actual or imminent, not ‘conjectural’ or ‘hypothetical’”. Second, there must be a causal connection between the injury and the conduct complained of—the injury has to be “fairly ... trace[able] to the challenged action of the defendant, and not ... th[e] result [of] the independent action of some third party not before the court.” Third, it must be “likely”, as opposed to merely “speculative”, that the injury will be “redressed by a favorable decision.”Environmental laws that allow citizen suits include:
Clean Water Act
Safe Drinking Water Act
Clean Air Act 1970
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977
Endangered Species Act of 1973
Emergency Planning and Community Right To Know Act of 1986- SARA Title IIIColorado Water Quality Control Division
The Colorado Water Quality Control Division is part of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The Water Quality Control Division implements the federal Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act in Colorado. It is responsible for water control for the state of Colorado to ensure the protection of both the environment and the public. The division enforces these laws through methods such as implementing local laws and regulations, permits, and routine inspections of public water systems and facilities.Drinking water quality in the United States
Drinking water quality in the United States is generally good. In 2016, over 90 percent of the nation's community water systems were in compliance with all more-than-90 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. Over 286 million Americans get their tap water from a community water system. Eight percent of the community water systems—large municipal water systems—provide water to 82 percent of the US population.Most of the systems that are out of compliance are small systems in rural areas and small towns, partly because most public water systems are small ones. Drinking water quality in the U.S. is regulated by state and federal laws and codes, which set Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for some pollutants and naturally occurring constituents, determine various operational requirements, require public notification for violation of standards, provide guidance to state primacy agencies, and require utilities to publish Consumer Confidence Reports.Drinking water quality legislation of the United States
In the United States, public drinking water is governed by the laws and regulations enacted by the federal and state governments. Certain ordinances may also be created at a more local level. The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) is the principal federal law. The SDWA authorizes the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to create and enforce regulations to achieve the SDWA goals.Drinking water quality standards
Drinking water quality standards describes the quality parameters set for drinking water. Despite the truth that every human on this planet needs drinking water to survive and that water may contain many harmful constituents, there are no universally recognized and accepted international standards for drinking water. Even where standards do exist, and are applied, the permitted concentration of individual constituents may vary by as much as ten times from one set of standards to another. The surveillance agency is responsible for an independent (external) and periodic review of all aspects of safety, whereas the water supplier is responsible at all times for regular quality control, for operational monitoring and for ensuring good operating
practice. Guidelines for Water-Drinking Quality. This surveillance holds several water purification companies accountable when water doesn't meet quality standards. This method enforces all policies and encourages proper infrastructure, whether piped or unpiped, treatment plants, storage reservoirs and distribution systems.
Many developed countries specify standards to be applied in their own country. In Europe, this includes the European Drinking Water Directive and in the United States the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) establishes standards as required by the Safe Drinking Water Act. For countries without a legislative or administrative framework for such standards, the World Health Organization publishes guidelines on the standards that should be achieved. China adopted its own drinking water standard GB3838-2002 (Type II) enacted by Ministry of Environmental Protection in 2002.Where drinking water quality standards do exist, most are expressed as guidelines or targets rather than requirements, and very few water standards have any legal basis or, are subject to enforcement. Two exceptions are the European Drinking Water Directive and the Safe Drinking Water Act in the USA, which require legal compliance with specific standards.
In Europe, this includes a requirement for member states to enact appropriate local legislation to mandate the directive in each country. Routine inspection and, where required, enforcement is enacted by means of penalties imposed by the European Commission on non-compliant nations.
Countries with guideline values as their standards include Canada, which has guideline values for a relatively small suite of parameters, New Zealand, where there is a legislative basis, but water providers have to make "best endeavours" to comply with the standards, and Australia.Exemptions for hydraulic fracturing under United States federal law
There are many exemptions for hydraulic fracturing under United States federal law: the oil and gas industries are exempt or excluded from certain sections of a number of the major federal environmental laws. These laws range from protecting clean water and air, to preventing the release of toxic substances and chemicals into the environment: the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, commonly known as Superfund.Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act
The Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act (H.R. 1084, S. 587, dubbed as the FRAC Act) is a legislative proposal in the United States Congress to define hydraulic fracturing as a federally regulated activity under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The proposed act would require the energy industry to disclose the chemical additives used in the hydraulic fracturing fluid. The gas industry opposes the legislation.The bill was introduced to both houses of the 111th United States Congress on June 9, 2009. The House bill was introduced by representatives Diana DeGette, D-Colo., Maurice Hinchey D-N.Y., and Jared Polis, D-Colo. The Senate version was introduced by senators Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. The bill was re-introduced to both houses of the 112th United States Congress on March 15, 2011, by representative Diana DeGette and senator Bob Casey.List of United States federal environmental statutes
The laws listed below meet the following criteria: (1) they were passed by the United States Congress, and (2) pertain to (a) the regulation of the interaction of humans and the natural environment, or (b) the conservation and/or management of natural or historic resources. They need not be wholly codified in the United States Code.Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule
The Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule ("LT2ESWTR" or simply "LT2") is a 2006 regulation promulgated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pursuant to the Safe Drinking Water Act. The rule required public water systems to install more stringent treatment systems to control the microorganism cryptosporidium and other pathogens.Maximum Contaminant Level
Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) are standards that are set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for drinking water quality. An MCL is the legal threshold limit on the amount of a substance that is allowed in public water systems under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The limit is usually expressed as a concentration in milligrams or micrograms per liter of water.State Revolving Fund
A State Revolving Fund (SRF) is a fund administered by a U.S. state for the purpose of providing low-interest loans for investments in water and sanitation infrastructure (e.g., sewage treatment, stormwater management facilities, drinking water treatment), as well as for the implementation of nonpoint source pollution control and estuary protection projects. A SRF receives its initial capital from federal grants and state contributions. It then emits bonds that are guaranteed by the initial capital. It then "revolves" through the repayment of principal and the payment of interest on outstanding loans. There are currently two SRFs, the Clean Water State Revolving Fund created in 1987 under the Clean Water Act, and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund created in 1997 under the Safe Drinking Water Act.Early in the implementation of the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program, following passage of the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act, EPA underwent a process of evaluating the adequacy of state public water systems. The agency’s goal was to devolve primacy for drinking water quality management to states that were prepared to accept the responsibility, and to use the new funds provided by Congress in EPA’s budget to give states financial support.State health agency
A state health agency (SHA), or state department of health, is a department or agency of the state governments of the United States focused on public health. The state secretary of health is a constitutional or at times a statutory official in several states of the United States. The position is the chief executive official for the state's state health agency (or equivalent), chief administrative officer for the state's Board of Health (or equivalent), or both.
Following passage of the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974, during the first ten years of the program the state health departments were given new and important roles under the law. Due to new grants available, they had enhanced their programs and had many more resources to oversee and help utilities come into compliance with drinking water standards, and they were able to develop other related activities like the capacity for doing risk assessments on new contaminants of concern.Timeline of major U.S. environmental and occupational health regulation
1916 - National Park Service Organic Act created the National Park Service.
1947 – Los Angeles Air Pollution Control District created; first air pollution agency in the US.
1948 – Federal Water Pollution Control Act
1955 – National Air Pollution Control Act
1959 – California Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Board created to test automobile emissions and set standards.
1963 – Clean Air Act (amended in 1965, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1977, 1990)
1964 – Wilderness Act
1965 – National Emissions Standards Act
1965 – Motor Vehicle Air Pollution Control Act
1965 – Solid Waste Disposal Act
1967 – California Air Resources Board established; set emissions standards predating EPA.
1967 – Air Quality Act (amendment to CAA)
1969 – Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act
1969 – National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
1970 – Reorganization Plan No. 3 created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by Presidential Executive Order
1970 – Clean Air Act (Extension). Major rewrite of CAA, setting National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) Hazardous Air Pollutant standards, and auto emissions tailpipe standards.
1970 – Williams-Steiger Occupational Safety and Health Act created OSHA and NIOSH
1970 – Lead-Based Paint Poisoning Prevention Act
1970 – Environmental Quality Improvement Act
1972 – Federal Water Pollution Control Amendments of 1972 (P.L. 92-500). Major rewrite.
1972 – Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) (amended by Food Quality Protection Act of 1996)
1972 – Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972
1973 – Endangered Species Act
1974 – Safe Drinking Water Act
1975 – Hazardous Materials Transportation Act
1976 – Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
1976 – Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)
1977 – Clean Water Act. Amended FWPCA of 1972.
1977 – Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act
1978 – National Energy Conservation Policy Act
1980 – Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). Created the Superfund program.
1980 – Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act
1980 – Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act
1982 – Nuclear Waste Policy Act
1986 – Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1986
1986 – Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRKA)
1986 – Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA)
1987 – Water Quality Act. Amended FWPCA of 1972.
1989 – Basel Convention
1989 – Montreal Protocol on ozone-depleting chemicals enters into force.
1990 – Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. Set new automobile emissions standards, low-sulfur gas, required Best Available Control Technology (BACT) for toxins, reduction in CFCs.
1990 – Oil Pollution Act of 1990
1991 – Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA)
1992 – Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act
1993 – North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
1994 – Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice
1996 – Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act (P.L. 104-19)
1996 – Food Quality Protection Act (amended FIFRA)
1996 – Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996
1997 - Kyoto Protocol
1998 – Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21)
2002 – California AB 1493 sets standards for emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases from automobiles and light duty trucks.
2002 – Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act (amended CERCLA)
2005 – Energy Policy Act of 2005
2005 – Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA)
2007 – Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA)
2016 -- The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century ActTom Murt
Thomas P. Murt (born 1960) is a Republican member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, representing the 152nd legislative district. He was first elected in 2006.Tom Murt is a native of Hatboro, Pennsylvania and graduated from Archbishop Wood High School. He has a bachelor's degree in Economics from Penn State University and a master's degree in Education from La Salle University. He also earned a Teaching Certificate from Gwynedd-Mercy College. He has completed graduate economics coursework at Temple University, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in education there.Murt served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1990 to 2008. In 2003, he was called to active duty and served for 14 months with the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division in Iraq. Following his deployment in Operation: Iraqi Freedom, Murt returned to the U.S. Army Reserve with the 656th Area Support Group.Prior to elected office, he was assistant coordinator for the Counseling and Advising Center at Penn State Abington, where he also taught business classes. Murt was elected to the Upper Moreland Township Board of Commissioners in 1993 and served for ten years but resigned after he was called to active duty in the Army. He also served on the board of the Upper Moreland School District.In 2006, Tom Murt ran for the Pennsylvania State House against incumbent Sue Cornell in the Republican primary. He benefited from voter anger over the 2005 legislative pay raise. Even though Cornell won the party endorsement and had support from other State Representatives Murt prevailed in the primary with 55% of the vote. Murt went on to defeat Democrat Michael Paston in the general election with 54% of the vote.Before Murt was up for re-election in November 2016, he proposed a bill that would set the standards of drinking water in Pennsylvania, which would especially affect Bucks and Montgomery counties. The bill is an amendment to the 1984 state Safe Drinking Water Act. In the 2016 Pennsylvania House of Representative elections, Tom Murt was re-elected to his seat after defeating Democratic nominee Albert J. DerMovsesian, Sr. Murt won his 2016 re-election with 64.22% of the vote.In April 2019, Murt was highlighted as having introduced or supported more "model legislation", which is written by corporations or special interest groups than any other state legislator in the United States. According to Murt, "he supports good legislation, whether it comes from a constituent, a colleague, or groups that advocate for causes he believes in."Trihalomethane
Trihalomethanes (THMs) are chemical compounds in which three of the four hydrogen atoms of methane (CH4) are replaced by halogen atoms. Many trihalomethanes find uses in industry as solvents or refrigerants. THMs are also environmental pollutants, and many are considered carcinogenic. Trihalomethanes with all the same halogen atoms are called haloforms. Several of these are easy to prepare through the haloform reaction.
Trihalomethanes were the subject of first drinking water regulations issued after passage of the U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act in 1974.Water industry
The water industry provides drinking water and wastewater services (including sewage treatment) to residential, commercial, and industrial sectors of the economy. Typically public utilities operate water supply networks. The water industry does not include manufacturers and suppliers of bottled water, which is part of the beverage production and belongs to the food sector.Wellhead protection area
A wellhead protection area is a surface and subsurface land area regulated to prevent contamination of a well or well-field supplying a public water system. This program, established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (42 U.S.C. 330f-300j), is implemented through state governments.