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Ensure Safe Drinking Water with an Independent Drinking Water Quality Council

Millions of Americans are exposed to unsafe drinking water every day, through contaminants in groundwater, wells, and entire municipal water systems. But too often politics and polluters drive the conversation, not those affected. The Drinking Water Quality Act gives individuals and communities a path to protect the safety of the water coming out of their taps, and replaces the politics with an independent, expert council totally focused on protecting state drinking water.

The National Landscape

Passed in:

Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington

Introduced in:

California, Kentucky, New Hampshire, New Jersey (12), New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Washington

In The News

“'I think it's critical we have citizen and community involvement in developing solutions for our water system,' said Flint, Michigan Mayor Dane Walling.”
“'We need some more clean water,' said Shreejana Malla, who co-owns a convenience store in Wolfforth, [Texas] with her husband. 'So I would want them to, as soon as possible, to get the clean water. I don’t feel comfortable taking a shower, but we’ve got to take a shower.'”

Partners

  • Parents and families
  • Environmental advocates
  • Public health advocates
  • Local officials

Opposition

None noted
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FAQ

Who does this help?
Everyone who wants safe water flowing from their tap.
How does this work?
The Drinking Water Quality Council brings together experts in water safety and quality, and has a role for citizens to oversee all processes related to delivering clean drinking water in the state. The Council will work to set maximum contamination levels, pursue investigations of contamination, oversee testing processes, and assess all emerging water quality issues.
How does this work?
The Drinking Water Quality Council brings together experts in water safety and quality, and has a role for citizens to oversee all processes related to delivering clean drinking water in the state. The Council will work to set maximum contamination levels, pursue investigations of contamination, oversee testing processes, and assess all emerging water quality issues.
Print

Model Policy

SECTION 1 (TITLE):
This act shall be known as the Drinking Water Quality Council Act.

SECTION 2 (PURPOSE):
To establish a Drinking Water Quality Council that oversees matters related to ensuring clean drinking water for all residents of STATE.

SECTION 3 (PROVISIONS):

(a) There shall be established, within the DEPARTMENT, the Drinking Water Quality Council. The Council shall be comprised of 19 members as follows:
  • (i) the Director of the [Department of Environmental Protection];
  • (ii) the Director of the [Department of Health];
  • (iii) the Director of the [Division of Water Resources in DEPARTMENT];
  • (iv) the Director of the [Office of Science and Research in DEPARTMENT] all of whom shall serve ex officio; and
  • (vi) fifteen appointed members:
  • (1) five of whom shall represent the water purveyors, at least one of which has as its primary water source an underground source;
  • (2) five of whom shall represent the academic environmental health science community; and
  • (3) five of whom, having backgrounds in environmental health issues shall represent the public,
  • (4) Of the appointed members from (2) above representing the academic community, one must have a background or expertise in environmental justice
  • (5) Of the members from (3) above representing the public, one must have a background or expertise in toxicology or health risk assessment; one must have a background or expertise in microbiology; and one must have a background or expertise in environmental engineering.

(b) Each group of five set forth in section (a)(vi) shall be appointed by the Governor, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House, the Minority Leader of the Senate and the Minority Leader of the House. Of the members first appointed, three shall serve for terms of three years, three for terms of two years and three for terms of one year. Thereafter, all terms shall be for three years. Each member shall serve for the term of his appointment and until his successor shall have been appointed and qualified. Any vacancy shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment for the unexpired term only. Any member of the institute may be removed by the appointing authority, for cause, after public hearing.

(c) Members of the Council shall serve without compensation, but the Council may, within the limits of funds appropriated or otherwise made available to it for such purposes, reimburse its members for necessary expenses incurred in the discharge of their official duties.

(d) The Council shall meet at such times and places as may be determined by its chair. A majority of the membership of the Councilshall constitute a quorum. Action may be taken and motions and resolutions adopted by the institute at any meeting by the affirmative vote of a majority of the full membership of the Council.

(e) The Council shall make recommendations to the DEPARTMENT. These recommendations shall consist of:
  • (i) The development of a list of contaminants for which testing shall be required. In determining what substances shall be recommended as emerging contaminants the Council shall, at a minimum, consider:
  • (1)unregulated contaminants monitored pursuant to the federal Safe Drinking Water Act as amended from time to time;
  • (2) substances that require regulation or monitoring when present in drinking water in other jurisdictions outside the state of [STATE];
  • (3) pesticide chemicals for which the United States environmental protection agency has set human health benchmarks for drinking water;
  • (4) substances found at sites in remedial programs located inside and outside the STATE, including but not limited to inactive hazardous waste sites; and
  • (5) waterborne pathogens and microbiological contaminants.
  • (ii) The development of maximum contaminant levels;
  • (iii) The development of appropriate testing techniques to measure maximum contaminant levels;
  • (iv) The development of testing frequencies;
  • (v) The removal of a substance from the list of emerging contaminants on the basis of available scientific evidence and any other relevant factors;
  • (vi) The development of educational materials regarding private well water testing;
  • (vii) The review of all activities undertaken pursuant to the "Safe Drinking Water Act" and any amendments or supplements thereto.

(f) The Council shall provide the department with its first list of recommended emerging contaminants and corresponding notification levels for which testing shall be required no later than one year from the initial meeting of the Council, and the Council shall update the list and recommend notification levels annually thereafter.

(g) The Council shall be entitled to request and receive information from any state, municipal department, board, commission or agency that may be required or are deemed necessary for the purposes of such council, including but not limited to all water information and annual reports the department has relating to both public and private water supplies.

(h) Before the Council advances any recommendation to the DEPARTMENT, the council shall provide an opportunity for public and stakeholder comments, including by conducting in-person public hearings or events in different regions of the state at least four times total per year. Final recommendations of the Council shall be posted on the department's website within thirty days after the Council adopts such recommendations.