Blumenauer Turns the Tap on Improving Water Infrastructure

September 15, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) announced the advancement of his efforts to invest in maintaining and improving our water infrastructure.

“Access to safe water is increasingly one of the most pressing challenges we face today, from Flint, Michigan to schools in Portland. Too often out of sight and out of mind, our water systems are literally falling apart while we ignore the problem,” said Blumenauer. “I hope we build on steps taken today, and that Congress will do more to meet our desperate need for water infrastructure investments – critical to the health, safety, and economic vitality of our communities.”

Senate Passes Blumenauer Provisions to Help States Invest in Critical Clean and Drinking Water Projects

The U.S. Senate today passed S. 2848, the Water Resources Development Act, that included provisions to help states make overdue investments in clean and drinking water infrastructure. The provisions are nearly identical to Blumenauer’s Water Infrastructure Trust Fund Act, an effort he’s led for nearly a decade.

Blumenauer, joined by Representatives John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN) and Richard Hanna (R-NY), earlier this year re-introduced the Water Infrastructure Trust Fund Act, legislation that creates a dedicated source of revenue for states and local governments to fund critical clean water and drinking water projects by creating a voluntary labeling and contributory system to which businesses that rely on a clean water source could opt-in, encouraging creative public-private partnerships.

Blumenauer Joins Effort to Help Schools Test for Lead & Remove Lead Contamination from Water

Today, Blumenauer also joined Representative Jackie Speier (CA-14) to introduce the No Lead in School Water Act, legislation to help schools test for lead and remove lead contamination in drinking water.

Currently, an estimated 90,000 public schools and half a million child-care facilities are not required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to test their drinking water regularly for lead. As a result and because of limited resources, many of these schools do not test for lead contamination. Congress attempted to mandate state testing of schools for lead through passage of the Lead Contamination Control Act of 1988; however, it was ruled unconstitutional.

The No Lead in School Water Act fixes the law by creating voluntary grant programs under EPA for state-based lead testing and remediation for school drinking water. To meet funding requirements, participating states must comply with a set of national standards, including: mandatory school testing, consumption site testing, an EPA/ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention directed remediation action level, public posting of test results, and creation of test result explanation materials for families.