September 08, 2016

Senator Gillibrand Introduces Provision To Require EPA To Close Loophole In Current Water Testing System, Test All Public Water Systems In The United States For Unregulated Contaminants Such As PFOA

Under current federal law, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is only required to test unregulated contaminants in water systems serving over 10,000 people / Senator Gillibrand’s amendment to the Water Resources Development Act would require EPA to test for all contaminants in all public water supplies to help protect small towns and villages from disasters

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today introduced an amendment to the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) that would require the EPA to expand water testing for unregulated drinking water contaminants to all public water supplies. Currently, the EPA is only required to test for unregulated contaminants in water systems serving over 10,000 people.

“With one-third of all New Yorkers and millions of Americans nationwide getting their drinking water from water sources not subject to testing by the EPA, the Senate must take action immediately to close the loophole that exempts smaller public water systems from inspection,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “My amendment would do that by requiring the EPA to test for all potential contaminants in all public water supplies. As we have seen from the devastating situation in the Hoosick Falls area, having a smaller population doesn’t mean a community is immune from a dangerous water contamination crisis. I urge all of my colleagues to support this amendment, so that the EPA can better protect our small towns and villages from disasters like the one that took place in Hoosick Falls.”

Senator Gillibrand has been urging the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, as well as the EPA, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to take action to address the situation in Hoosick Falls, Hoosick, and Petersburgh.

In May 2016, Senator Gillibrand urged the EPA to expedite the clean-up of Hoosick Falls, by designating it as a federal Superfund site. Senator Gillibrand also sent a letter to Senator James Inhofe, Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, in February 2016 requesting that the committee hold a hearing to examine the effects of PFOA on drinking water in the United States. In June 2016, Senator Gillibrand called on the EPA to use the new authority provided by the recently reformed Toxic Substances Control Act to determine if PFOA should be restricted or banned at the federal level. She also asked the NIH and the CDC to do all they can to provide information and assistance to the residents of Hoosick Falls, Hoosick, and Petersburgh regarding the health effects of PFOA exposure.

Most recently, Senator Gillibrand wrote to the Directors of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences at NIH and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry at CDC in July 2016 urging the agencies to prioritize research into the health effects of PFOA exposure and asking the agencies to outline the resources and legislative authority they need to conduct and support research to fill in the current gaps in our understanding of the health effects of PFOA.