Shimkus at forefront of Rural Drinking Water Bill's passage in the House of Representatives
U.S. Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) this week led the passage of S. 611, the Grassroots Rural and Small Community Water Systems Assistance Act, in the U.S. House of Representatives.
S. 611 was created to deal with the technical and financial challenges that the Safe Water Drinking Act created for smaller and rural communities. The bill maintains the existing annual funding level of $15 million.
“A major source of financial stress for small and rural drinking water supply systems is compliance with a number of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations,” Shimkus said. “These communities depend heavily on federal and state grants, as well as subsidized loan programs, to finance their needs.”
The funding helps these communities, but it is often not enough. The bill, therefore, also reauthorizes EPA’s technical assistance program through 2020 for small, public water systems. Additionally, it authorizes non-profit organization funding to be used on technical assistance for these systems.
“These communities may need access to technical professionals to help find the most cost-effective way to comply with EPA standards,” Shimkus said. “Technical assistance offered by EPA allows small, public water authorities to identify affordable repair and replacement options for their systems.”
The legislation passed by voice vote in the House and passed unanimously in the Senate. It will go before President Obama to be signed into law.