In the wake of the drinking water crisis in Flint, MI, Congress is taking steps to better enforce compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Sponsored by Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Michigan) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Michigan), HR 4470 passed in the House by a vote of 416-2, with only Reps. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) and Todd Rokita (R-Indiana) voting against it. The measure was co-sponsored by 57 Republicans and 14 Democrats, including all members of the Michigan delegation.
If signed into law, this bill would strengthen US EPA’s authority to notify the public when lead levels in drinking water violate federal standards. It would also give agency employees, who learn that lead levels in tap water are exceeded, authority to bypass the state and notify the water utility of the violation. If the utility and the state still fail to act, then the agency would require public notification when water being transported in a lead pipe is sufficiently corrosive that it could leach lead into public drinking water.