Shaheen Co-Sponsors Bipartisan Bill to Help Provide Clean Drinking Water for Rural AmericansMarch 18, 2023
**Legislation would help the almost 43 million households relying on groundwater from private wells test their water and address emerging contaminants like PFAS**
**Shaheen leads efforts in the U.S. Senate urging the administration to prioritize federal dollars for remediating private wells**
**Earlier this week, Shaheen lauded the EPA for heeding her calls and announcing aggressive national primary drinking water regulations for PFAS chemicals to better ensure the safety of drinking water supplies**
(Washington, DC) – Earlier this week, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) cosponsored the bipartisan Healthy Drinking Water Affordability Act, or The Healthy H2O Act, to provide grants for water testing and treatment technology directly to individuals and non-profits in rural communities. Almost 43 million households, primarily in rural communities, rely exclusively on groundwater delivered through private wells for their drinking water. These sources are not subject to the same oversight and testing as public ones, meaning they could contain any number of contaminants. Simple water quality improvement systems can provide immediate and ongoing protection from known and emerging water contaminants, like PFAS, lead and nitrates.
“Every Granite Stater, whether they live in a rural or urban part of the state, deserves access to clean drinking water without toxic chemicals,” said Senator Shaheen. “This issue impacts people in New Hampshire and across our country. The Healthy H20 Act would help households on wells address contaminants like PFAS in their drinking water and help promote better public health.”
The Healthy H2O Act would provide grants for water quality testing and the purchase and installation of point-of-use or point-of-entry water quality improvement systems which remove or significantly reduce contaminants from drinking water. These grants would be provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture directly to individuals and to non-profits in rural areas, targeted specifically to those in communities with a population under 10,000, to help people test their water and install a water treatment product if needed.
Across the United States and in New Hampshire, communities face threats to their drinking water from a number of harmful contaminants. This legislation will help those in rural communities get access to many technologies for testing and water treatment that will ensure their water is safe.
Senator Shaheen has led efforts in Congress to uncover the potential health effects related to PFAS contamination. Shaheen has fought to secure consistent federal support for the PFAS health impact study that she established four years ago. Because of her efforts, Pease is serving as a model site for the nationwide study. As a lead negotiator of water provisions in the bipartisan infrastructure law, Shaheen secured record-level funding to upgrade drinking water and wastewater infrastructure and address PFAS contamination, including $72 million in grants to New Hampshire for the first of five years of funding. Last month, Shaheen led the congressional delegation in announcing over $23.1 million for clean water infrastructure upgrades, including PFAS efforts, which were also allocated through the bipartisan infrastructure law. In the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 government funding law that Shaheen helped write, she helped secure support for the EPA to address treatment solutions, conduct research and undertake regulatory actions outlined in the PFAS Strategic Roadmap. Last year, Shaheen and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) urged the Biden administration to ensure funding allocated in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) to combat PFAS contamination in small and underserved communities is available to address contamination in residential wells.
This bipartisan legislation is led by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Susan Collins (R-ME).
The full text of this legislation is available here. A one-pager on this legislation is available here.
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