Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N.Y., announced Tuesday she is introducing a bill in an effort to help communities clean up and monitor drinking water systems.
“Clean water is something every New Yorker should have access to,” Sen. Gillibrand said during a conference call. “Across NY state, drinking water contamination has been hurting communities.”
The Contaminant and Lead Electronic Accounting and Reporting Requirements would do several things, including providing resources to identify, test and clean up drinking water systems and force the EPA to share more information about water pollution in New York.
The act would increase funding for assisting small and disadvantaged communities with water quality compliance from $60 million a year to $230 million next year and $300 million from 2020 through 2023.
“If your water supply has been contaminated, it’s expensive to clean it up,” Sen. Gillibrand said during the press conference. “Congress has a responsibility to make sure if a town’s water has been contaminated, they’re not stuck with no way to clean it up.”
It would also force the EPA to set up electronic reporting of water quality compliance, provide technical assistance with public water systems trying to meet compliance standards, research contaminants, and provide grants for local educational programs on the health effects of contaminated water.
“The EPA has a responsibility to make sure that communities have all the information they need to understand exactly what’s happening when contamination occurs, and whether they need to start a cleanup effort,” Sen. Gillibrand said. “The EPA should never hold back information from the public when it comes to our health and safety.”
Sen. Gillibrand’s office could not immediately supply any particular New York communities that she thinks the bill will help if passed, but the senator made it clear she thinks the bill will benefit New York specifically.
“No one should ever have to wonder if their water is safe,” she said.