Help Ensure All Americans Have Safe Drinking Water - Waterkeeper

Help Ensure All Americans Have Safe Drinking Water

By: Thomas Hynes

By Sonsart/Shutterstock

Reliably clean and safe drinking water is something most people expect as a given. That trust was earned through protections like those afforded under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), which is partly responsible for the U.S. having one of the safest drinking water supplies in the world. Right now, that security is being threatened by a growing list of dangerous contaminants. 

We need you to act now by urging EPA to expand its contaminant candidate list to include existing and emerging threats to our nation’s drinking water.

The Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 ensures public drinking water supplies meet minimum national standards for many types of contaminants. EPA works with state and local governments to ensure these standards are met. It has been mostly successful. For example, waterborne disease declined rapidly in the 1980s

However, as public health disasters in places like Flint, Michigan and several other communities have shown, the situation is far from perfect. Tens of millions of Americans are exposed to unsafe drinking water all over the country. We’ve done a lot, but much more needs to be done.

Specifically, we must test for more contaminants. The health of our nation, and particularly our children and underserved communities, is at stake. That is why safeguards must constantly be strengthened and updated to regulate emerging and existing contaminants. And the time to act is now! 

Will you join us in urging EPA to expand its contaminant candidate list to include existing and emerging threats to our nation’s drinking water? Submit your comment here by September 17.

Understandably, most people assume the water that they drink, bathe in, and cook with has been tested to ensure that it is safe. Due to budget, time, and technology constraints, many water suppliers are only able to meet requirements by monitoring for specific contaminants. 

The snail’s pace of EPA’s SDWA processes is another significant concern. The opportunity to add new contaminants for consideration by EPA by way of its Contaminant Candidate List only happens once every five years. That is why we cannot let this window close without putting increased protections in place for our nation’s drinking water. 

We must urge EPA to keep dangerous chemicals, such as disinfection by-products (DBPs), per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) (also known as “forever chemicals”), and cyanotoxins caused by toxic algal blooms, on their Fifth Contaminant Candidate List (CCL5). Additionally, EPA must reverse its catastrophic decision made under the previous administration to remove Perchlorate from the list of regulated contaminants and treat it as the extremely dangerous substance it is. 

EPA has opened up a rare public comment period on the draft CCL5 and we need to let the agency know how important it is to keep our communities and children safe from contaminated drinking water. Making this list as comprehensive as possible will protect the most possible people. 

But we must act today! 

Your supportive action can help encourage EPA to strengthen clean water safeguards for communities across the country. Contact EPA Administrator Regan today in support of these urgently needed updates.