Summary: S.1961 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to Senate with amendment(s) (07/31/2014)

Chemical Safety and Drinking Water Protection Act of 2014 - (Sec. 2) Amends the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) to direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or each state exercising primary enforcement responsibility for public water systems to establish within two years a state chemical storage tank surface water protection program for chemicals identified as a hazardous substance under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), subject to emergency planning or reporting requirements of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act, or defined as a contaminant under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Includes within the program bulk storage tanks that contain chemicals that if released could pose a risk of harm to a public water system. Excludes from the program a tank or container that is subject to regulations to prevent discharges of oil and hazardous substances under the National Response System of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly known as the Clean Water Act). Authorizes the EPA or a state, as applicable, to adopt additional exclusions based on federal or state laws that substantially meet the requirements of this Act, or for tanks that would not pose a risk of harm to a public water system.

Requires the programs to provide for oversight and inspection of each covered chemical storage tank in accordance with minimum requirements, established by this Act, to prevent the release of chemicals into the water supplies of public water systems.

Requires inspections for: (1) high hazard tanks every year by a certified inspector, (2) tanks identified in source water assessment every three years, and (3) for any other covered chemical storage tank every five years.

Requires the program to include a comprehensive inventory of the covered chemical storage tanks in each state.

Requires the EPA or a state, as applicable, to develop within two years a list of covered chemical storage tanks that hold chemicals that if released could pose the greatest risk of harm to public water systems in the state and the greatest risk to public health.

Deems a program and its requirements, for purposes of primary enforcement responsibility, to be part of the national primary drinking water regulations and requires that they be implemented and enforced in accordance with applicable SDWA procedures.

Requires states to notify the EPA within two years on whether the state will be exercising primary enforcement responsibility for public water systems or if it will be opting out. Prohibits a state's decision to implement or opt out of the program from affecting the state's primacy over other programs under the SDWA.

Requires the EPA to issue guidance and provide other technical assistance to states carrying out the programs.

Authorizes the EPA or a state, as applicable, to issue orders to the owner or operator of a tank to carry out this Act.

Sets forth requirements concerning: (1) liability of a tank owner or operator for costs of response actions, and (2) pre-transfer inspections of tanks.

Requires the EPA or a state to make available to public water systems, on request, information regarding emergency response plans, an inventory of each chemical held in the covered chemical storage tanks, existing information on the potential toxicity of the stored chemicals to public health and the environment that is relevant to evaluate the risk of harm to public water systems, and safeguards or other precautions that can be taken to detect, mitigate, or otherwise limit the adverse effects of a release of the stored chemicals.

Directs the EPA or the state to provide emergency response plans required by the program to the agency carrying out the program and to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Requires these plans to be integrated with applicable area contingency plans under the Clean Water Act.

Authorizes an owner or operator of a public water system to commence, or to petition the EPA to commence, a civil action for equitable relief to address possible imminent and substantial endangerment to the health of persons supplied by the water system. Provides a special rule to expedite the EPA's response to a petition in emergency situations.