Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed Senate amended (05/19/1994)

Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1994 - Amends the Safe Drinking Water Act to require the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to make capitalization grants to States to establish State drinking water treatment revolving loan funds.

(Sec. 3) Authorizes State Governors to transfer amounts between such funds and water pollution control revolving funds established under the Clean Water Act.

Requires the Administrator to reserve one and a half percent of drinking water funds for capitalization grants to Indian tribes for the improvement of public water systems. Authorizes the Administrator to make such grants to the District of Columbia and specified U.S. territories.

Authorizes States to reserve a certain amount of such grants for technical assistance for small public water systems.

Authorizes the Administrator to make grants to Alaska for the benefit of Alaska Native villages.

Requires the Administrator, beginning in FY 1998, to withhold 10 percent (30 percent for subsequent years) of each capitalization grant made to a State if the Administrator has not approved a State viability program. Prohibits assistance to nonviable systems unless the system owner or operator agrees to undertake changes in operations to ensure that the system has the technical, managerial, and financial capability to comply with requirements on a long-term basis.

Directs States to prepare annual intended use plans for funds. Requires priority for the use of funds to be given to projects that address the most serious risk to human health and that assist systems most in need on a household basis according to State affordability criteria.

Authorizes appropriations.

Authorizes the Administrator to reserve a specified amount to support a study by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) of scientific practices related to the development of drinking water standards for contaminants that are regulated on the basis of a health effect other than a carcinogenic effect.

(Sec. 4) Requires the Administrator, no later than May 31, 1994, to propose maximum contaminant level goals (MCLGs) or maximum residual disinfectant level goals and a national primary drinking water regulation for disinfectants and disinfectant byproducts. Directs the Administrator to propose an interim enhanced surface water treatment rule for systems serving a population of over 10,000 that includes an MCLG for cryptosporidium. Requires publication of such goals, regulation, and rule (for microbial contaminants including cryptosporidium) by December 31, 1996.

Directs the Administrator to: (1) promulgate an information collection rule to obtain information that will facilitate further revisions to the national primary drinking water regulation for disinfectants and disinfection byproducts by July 29, 1994; (2) promulgate a final long-term enhanced surface water treatment rule for all public water systems serving over 10,000 by December 31, 1998; and (3) promulgate a revised national primary drinking water regulation for disinfectants and disinfection byproducts incorporating collected information by June 30, 2000.

Requires the Administrator to propose a regulation that describes treatment techniques that meet requirements for filtration and are feasible for community water systems serving 3,300 people or fewer and noncommunity water systems.

Directs the Administrator to publish an MCLG and promulgate a national primary drinking water regulation for any contaminant that may have adverse health effects and is known or anticipated to occur in public water systems with a frequency and at levels of public health concern. (Current law requires MCLGs and regulations for those that may have adverse health effects and are known or anticipated to occur in such systems.)

Requires the Administrator to publish a list of at least 15 contaminants that present the greatest public health concern, with additional lists of at least seven contaminants every five years. Establishes deadlines for the promulgation of regulations and MCLGs for such contaminants.

Directs the Administrator to assemble a national drinking water occurrence data base to include information on the occurrence of regulated and unregulated contaminants.

Directs the Administrator, at the time an MCL is proposed, to publish and consider an analysis of: (1) the health risk reduction benefits likely to occur as the result of treatment to comply with the MCL; (2) the costs that will be experienced as a result of compliance with the MCL; (3) potential increased health risks that may occur as a result of such compliance; and (4) the effects of the contaminant upon subpopulations that are identified as being at greater risk for adverse health effects.

Authorizes the Administrator to establish an MCL that is less stringent than is feasible if the less stringent level will result in compliance costs that are substantially less and: (1) for contaminants regulated on the basis of carcinogenic effect, will not result in a significant increase in individual lifetime cancer risks relative to the feasible level; or (2) for contaminants regulated on the basis of health effects other than carcinogenic effects, will ensure a reasonable certainty of no harm. Conditions the Administrator's authority with respect to contaminants regulated on the basis of health effects other than carcinogenic effects on an NAS study concerning scientific information and methods.

Permits the Administrator to establish a less stringent MCL if the technology, treatment techniques, and other means used to determine the feasible level would result in an increase in the overall health risk from drinking water by: (1) increasing the concentration of other contaminants; or (2) interfering with the efficacy of treatment techniques that are used to comply with other national primary drinking water regulations. Requires such MCL to minimize the overall health risks.

Revises provisions concerning the monitoring of unregulated contaminants. Requires the Administrator to establish criteria for a monitoring program for such contaminants. Directs the Administrator, within three years of this Act's enactment and every five years thereafter, to issue a list of up to 30 unregulated contaminants to be monitored by public water systems. Requires systems that serve over 10,000 people to monitor for all listed contaminants.

Directs each State to develop a representative monitoring plan to assess the occurrence of such contaminants in systems that serve fewer than 10,000. Provides that such plans shall require monitoring for systems representative of different sizes, types, and geographic locations within a State. Authorizes the Administrator to waive monitoring requirements if a State demonstrates that the criteria for listing a contaminant do not apply in the State.

Authorizes appropriations.

Requires drinking water regulations to be reviewed at least once every six (currently, three) years.

Makes national primary drinking water regulations effective three years after the date of promulgation (currently, 18 months) unless the Administrator determines that an earlier date is practicable. Permits up to two additional years to comply with an MCL or treatment technique if additional time is necessary for capital improvements.

Authorizes exemptions from MCL or treatment technique requirements to allow a public water system to develop an alternative source of water supply or to restructure or consolidate the system. Permits the renewal of an exemption for one additional two-year period (currently, one or more two-year periods) for a system that serves no more than 3,300 people (currently, that serves no more than 500 service connections) and needs financial assistance for necessary improvements. Prohibits exemptions for small systems that receive variances under this Act.

Requires the Administrator to review monitoring requirements for at least 12 contaminants and promulgate any necessary modifications.

Authorizes States to submit alternative monitoring requirements for any national primary drinking water regulation, other than those applicable to microbial contaminants, to the Administrator for approval.

Permits the Administrator or a State with primary enforcement responsibility (primacy), with respect to monitoring requirements for contaminants regulated on the basis of carcinogenic effects, to exempt public water systems serving fewer than 10,000 people from conducting additional quarterly monitoring during any three-year period if monitoring conducted at the beginning of the period fails to detect the presence of the contaminant and it is unlikely to be detected by further monitoring.

(Sec. 5) Authorizes the Administrator or a State with primacy to grant variances for compliance with an MCL or treatment techniques to public water systems serving fewer than 10,000 people. Permits such variances if a system installs and operates treatment technology that is feasible for small systems as determined by the Administrator and: (1) the State cannot afford to comply with a national primary drinking water regulation; and (2) the variance ensures adequate health protection. Establishes application deadlines for variances. Requires variances to be granted or denied within one year of the deadline. Establishes a moratorium on penalties for violations of MCLs or treatment techniques for systems that submit timely applications.

Makes variances unavailable for: (1) an MCL or treatment technique for contaminants with respect to which a national primary drinking water regulation was promulgated prior to January 1, 1986; or (2) a regulation for a microbial contaminant or an indicator or treatment technique for such contaminant.

Requires the Administrator to issue guidance or regulations describing treatment techniques for public water systems serving fewer than 10,000 people.

Directs States to implement State Drinking Water System Viability Programs that ensure the capability of systems to comply with requirements.

Provides that a public water system in violation of a requirement specifying an MCL or treatment technique that seeks assistance from a State for restructuring shall not be subject to a penalty for three years if the system is meeting the conditions of a State restructuring order. Makes such extensions unavailable for systems that apply for assistance four years after this Act's enactment.

Directs the Administrator to make grants to institutions of higher education to establish at least five small public water system technology assistance centers in the United States.

(Sec. 6) Revises enforcement authorities. Exempts systems that submit approved consolidation plans from enforcement actions for a certain time period.

Requires States to report annually to the Administrator on public water system compliance. Directs the Administrator to summarize such reports for the Congress and make recommendations on resources needed to ensure compliance.

(Sec. 7) Makes it unlawful for any person to: (1) introduce into commerce any pipe or pipe or plumbing fitting or fixture that is not lead free; (2) sell solder or flux that is not lead free while engaged in the business of selling plumbing supplies (except for manufacturers); or (3) introduce into commerce any solder or flux that is not lead free unless it bears a label stating that it is illegal to use such solder or flux in the installation or repair of any plumbing providing water for human consumption.

Requires the Administrator to: (1) provide technical information and assistance to qualified third-party certifiers in the development of voluntary standards and testing protocols for the leaching of lead from new plumbing fittings and fixtures that are intended to dispense water for human ingestion; and (2) promulgate regulations setting a health-effects-based performance standard establishing maximum leaching levels from such fittings and fixtures if a voluntary standard is not established within one year of this Act's enactment. Prohibits, if such standards are not promulgated within five years of this Act's enactment, the importation, manufacturing, processing, or distribution in commerce of fittings or fixtures that contain more than four percent lead by dry weight.

Directs the Administrator to review data and information on the leaching of lead from water well pumps and system component parts that come into contact with drinking water and the voluntary consensus standards for protecting health from the leaching of lead. Requires the Administrator to establish a health-effects based performance standard and testing protocol for such leaching if the voluntary consensus standard is not effectively protecting health. Makes it a violation of this Act to import, manufacture, sell, distribute, or install a water well pump or system component parts that leach lead above the maximum level.

Requires the Administrator to: (1) review information on the leaking of oil and polychlorinated biphenyls from well pumps that come into contact with drinking water in private and public wells; (2) identify health risks from such substances; and (3) provide recommendations on precautions to be taken to avoid such risks.

(Sec. 8) Directs the Administrator to promulgate national primary drinking water regulations and an MCL for radon. Permits alternative contaminant levels if a system is: (1) located in a State that is implementing a program to reduce radon in indoor air or is receiving State grant assistance for the program; or (2) implementing an approved service area alternative compliance program.

(Sec. 9) Authorizes States to establish programs under which community water systems or local governments may submit water quality protection petitions requesting States to assist in addressing: (1) the origins of drinking water contaminants of public health concern; and (2) the financial or technical limitations that impair a community water system's ability to comply with a national primary drinking water regulation. Sets forth minimum requirements for petitions.

Makes sole source aquifer plans, wellhead protection plans, and source water quality protection measures assisted in response to petitions eligible for assistance under the Clean Water Act.

Provides for grants to States that submit source water protection petition programs to the Administrator.

Extends the authorization of appropriations for sole source aquifer protection and wellhead protection programs.

(Sec. 11) Authorizes appropriations for drinking water research, investigations, and demonstrations.

Requires the principal operator of community and noncommunity water systems serving nontransient populations and additional personnel, as designated by the Administrator, to be certified for proficiency. Withholds percentages of capitalization grants from States for noncompliance with certification programs.

Extends the authorization of appropriations for technical assistance to small water systems.

Establishes additional research authorities, including requirements for studies of risk assessment and the occurrences of chemicals in drinking water. Sets priorities for research. Directs the Administrator to develop an integrated risk characterization strategy for drinking water quality.

Requires the Administrator to report triennially to the Congress on results of research to identify groups within the general population that may be at greater risk of adverse health effects from contaminants in drinking water.

(Sec. 12) Authorizes appropriations for public water system supervision programs and grants to States for groundwater and underground source protection programs.

(Sec. 14) Waives the sovereign immunity of the United States with respect to any requirement, administrative authority, process, or sanction imposed concerning the provision of safe drinking water or underground injection.

(Sec. 15) Directs the Administrator to: (1) rank sources of pollution with respect to the relative degree of risk of adverse effects on human health, the environment, and public welfare; (2) evaluate costs and benefits associated with compliance with regulations and Federal actions with health and environmental impacts; and (3) identify reasonable opportunities to achieve significant risk reduction through modifications in environmental regulations and programs and other Federal programs with health and environmental impacts.

(Sec. 16) Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services, after the Administrator publishes an MCL, to issue a regulation that establishes a quality level for the contaminant in bottled water or make a finding that a regulation is not necessary to protect the public health because the contaminant is not present in bottled water. Requires the quality level to be as stringent as the MCL. Makes the MCL the standard if the Secretary fails to establish a regulation.

(Sec. 17) Directs the Administrator to carry out a research plan to support the implementation of the most current version of the surface water treatment, disinfectant and disinfection byproducts, and groundwater disinfection rules. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 18) Requires the Administrator, in promulgating any proposed or final major regulation relating to human health or the environment, to publish in the Federal Register a statement that: (1) quantifies the health and environmental risks to be addressed by the regulation and compares such risks to other risks; (2) estimates costs and benefits of compliance to Federal, State, and local governments and to the private sector; and (3) contains a certification that the risk and cost-benefit analyses are based on the best available scientific information and that the regulation is likely to significantly reduce risks, there is no regulatory alternative that would achieve an equivalent reduction in risk in a more cost-effective manner, and the regulation is likely to produce benefits to justify costs. Defines a "major regulation" as one that may have an effect on the economy of at least $100 million in any one year.

(Sec. 19) Private Property Rights Act of 1994 - Directs that, to the fullest extent practicable, all Federal agencies shall complete a private property taking impact analysis before issuing any policy, regulation, proposed legislation, or related action which is likely to result in a taking of private property, with specified exceptions.

(Sec. 20) Directs the Secretary of the Army, acting through the Chief of the Army Corps of Engineers and at the request of public water supply customers of the Washington Aqueduct, to borrow from the Federal Financing Bank to finance capital improvements at the Aqueduct.

Requires the Administrator to: (1) develop criteria to identify qualified independent certifiers of residential water treatment devices; and (2) publish an annual list of certified devices. Makes it a violation of this Act to distribute, sell, or promote the sale of any device on the basis of false or misleading claims of its effectiveness to remove contaminants or protect health.

Authorizes the State of Virginia to establish a regional endowment fund for programs to demonstrate alternative approaches to intergovernmental coordination in the financing of drinking water projects in rural communities in southwestern Virginia that are experiencing severe economic hardship. Sets forth eligibility requirements.

Directs the Administrator to implement a screening program to determine whether certain substances may have an effect in humans that is similar to an effect produced by a naturally occurring estrogen or other designated endocrine effect. Requires manufacturers of substances for which testing is required to conduct testing and submit information to the Administrator. Suspends the sale or distribution of substances by persons who fail to comply.

Amends the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990 to apply the aquatic species program to Lake Champlain.

Title I: Department of Environmental Protection - Department of Environmental Protection Act of 1994 - Subtitle A: Elevation of the Environmental Protection Agency to Cabinet Level - Department of Environmental Protection Act - Redesignates the EPA as the Department of Environmental Protection.

(Sec. 103) Encourages the Secretary of Environmental Protection to: (1) assist the Secretary of State in participating in international environmental protection agreements and organizations; (2) conduct research on and develop responses to international environmental problems; and (3) provide assistance to foreign countries and international bodies to improve the environment.

Sets forth provisions concerning guidance for small businesses and other persons in applying for permits.

(Sec. 108) Establishes: (1) a Small Business Ombudsman Office to carry out environmental compliance and technical assistance for small businesses; (2) a Bureau of Environmental Statistics; and (3) an Advisory Council on Environmental Statistics.

(Sec. 109) Requires the Secretary to carry out environmental compliance and technical assistance programs for small governmental jurisdictions.

(Sec. 111) Authorizes grants to, and contracts with, State and local governments, Indian tribes, universities, and other organizations to assist in data collection.

(Sec. 112) Directs the Secretary to enter into an agreement with the NAS for a report on the adequacy of the Department's data collection procedures and capabilities. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 114) Abolishes the Council on Environmental Quality and transfers the Council's functions to the Secretary.

(Sec. 116) Sets forth conflict-of-interest disclosure requirements for persons entering into arrangements for services with the Secretary.

Requires public notice when the award of a contract may result in a conflict of interests.

(Sec. 122) Establishes the Office of Environmental Justice to: (1) develop a plan to ensure equality in environmental protection; (2) evaluate whether environmental policy is helping individuals who suffer the highest exposure to pollution; (3) collect data on environmental health effects; (4) identify environmental high impact areas which are subject to the highest loadings of toxic chemicals; and (5) assess health effects that may be caused by emissions in high impact areas.

(Sec. 123) Directs the President to report to the Congress on measures to provide that: (1) a single Federal agency be responsible for making technical determinations on agricultural lands with respect to wetlands to reduce confusion among agricultural producers; and (2) provide that the Soil Conservation Service be responsible for all such technical determinations on agricultural lands.

Subtitle B: Establishment of the Commission on Improving Environmental Protection - Establishes the Commission on Improving Environmental Protection to make recommendations on the implementation of Federal environmental laws to protect human health and the environment. Authorizes appropriations.

Subtitle C: Effective Date - Sets forth the effective data of this Act.