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Safe Drinking Water Act framework

In the United States, the Safe Drinking Water Act provides an overall regulatory framework for assuring the safety of drinking water. The Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for the development of national drinking water regulations and the implementation of these regulations.

As it was last amended in 1996, the SDWA established a scientific, risk-based process for identifying, assessing and managing health risks from contaminants in drinking water. Since 1975, EPA has developed 18 major drinking water regulations addressing 91 different contaminants.

In 2010 EPA announced a new Drinking Water Strategy that will regulate groups of contaminants and utilize several other principles to increase coordination and collaboration among EPA and states as well as among federal statutes.

Most states are authorized (given "primacy") to enforce EPA rules when they adopt regulations no less stringent than the federal versions.

AWWA's role

The AWWA Government Affairs Office in Washington, D.C., keeps utilities and the public informed about federal regulatory developments and directions. We work hard to ensure that “voice of water” is heard in the regulatory process by participating in meetings, workgroups and advisory committees and through official letters and comments.

This process and all comments and recommendations are directed and overseen by the Water Utility Council. The Water Industry Technical Action Fund is often used to fill data gaps that aid in understanding contaminant issues, and AWWA’s Technical Advisory Workgroups can bring the world’s foremost experts to lend perspective and understanding to even the most arcane subjects.

We want EPA to understand the real-world effects of potential regulatory actions, including both health-protective benefits and implications for the cost of water service. AWWA members are proud of their many contributions to the science of drinking water protection and to sound policies that protect public health while keeping water affordable.

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