Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (09/18/1984)

(Measure passed House, amended, roll call #396 (366-27))

Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1984 - Title I: Public Water Systems - Amends the Safe Drinking Water Act (the Act) to revise provisions for national primary drinking water regulations.

Provides that, effective on the date of enactment of this Act, each national interim primary drinking water regulation promulgated before such date shall be deemed to be a national primary drinking water regulation. Provides that no such regulation shall be required to comply with specified standards under this Act unless such regulation is amended to establish a different maximum contaminant level after the date of enactment of such amendments.

Directs the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), within specified time periods for certain contaminants, to: (1) simultaneously propose maximum contaminant level goals and national primary drinking water regulations; and (2) after opportunity for public comment simultaneously publish maximum contaminant level goals and promulgate national water regulations. Directs the Administrator to do so: (1) within 18 months after the enactment date of this Act, for the 14 contaminants listed in the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in a specified issue of the Federal Register; and (2) within 36 months after such enactment date, for each of the contaminants listed in the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in a specified later issue of the Federal Register. Requires the Administrator, if such goals and regulations for a particular contaminant are not to be proposed and published by such deadlines, to make and publish a determination in the Federal Register that there is not sufficient evidence to constitute a rational basis to believe that the contaminant may have any adverse effect on the health of persons.

Directs the Administrator to publish maximum contaminant level goals and simultaneously promulgate national primary drinking water regulations for each substance (other than those contaminants referred to in the previous paragraph) which, in the Administrator's judgment, may have an adverse effect on the health of persons. Requires the Administrator on January 1, 1988, and at annual intervals thereafter, to publish a list establishing priorities for the review of substances which may require regulation under the Act to prevent known or anticipated adverse effects on the health of persons. Requires the Administrator's consideration, in establishing such priorities, to include substances regulated as toxic water pollutants under the Clean Water Act and substances registered as pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. Directs the Administrator, within three years of each contaminant's being listed on the priority list, to either: (1) simultaneously propose a maximum contaminant level goal and a national primary drinking water regulation, and, after opportunity for public comment, simultaneously publish a maximum contaminant level goal and a national primary drinking water regulation; or (2) make and publish a determination in the Federal Register that there is not sufficient evidence to constitute a rational basis to believe that the contaminant may have any adverse effect on the health of persons.

Requires that each maximum contaminant level goal established under this Act be set at the level which, in the Administrator's judgment, no known or anticipated adverse effects on the health of persons occur and which allows an adequate margin of safety. Requires that each national primary drinking water regulation for a contaminant for which such a goal is established specify a maximum level which is as close to the goal as is feasible.

Directs the Administrator, in the case of any contaminant the level of which cannot be accurately enough measured in drinking water to establish a maximum contaminant level goal and which may have an adverse effect on the health of persons, in lieu of establishing a maximum contaminant level goal for such contaminant, to: (1) list such contaminant; and (2) promulgate treatment techniques for such contaminant which requires treatment necessary in the Administrator's judgment to prevent known or anticipated adverse effects on the health of persons to the extent feasible. Requires that the specified regulatory deadlines for certain contaminants be complied with in the promulgation of any such treatment technique use requirement for any such contaminant.

Directs the Administrator to propose and promulgate regulations requiring that all surface waters be treated by such processes as coagulation, sedimentation, or filtration or their equivalent prior to disinfection unless it can be shown on the basis of a sanitary survey that such treatment is not necessary. Directs the Administrator to develop rules for the granting of waivers for local supplies of water prior to the implementation of such requirement for proposal and promulgation of such regulations.

Requires each national primary water regulation which establishes a maximum contaminant level to list the technology, treatment techniques, and other means which the Administrator finds to be feasible for purposes of meeting such maximum contaminant level.

Directs the Administrator to propose and promulgate regulations requiring disinfection as a treatment technique for all public water systems. Authorizes the Administrator to grant variances from this requirement.

Authorizes the administrator, after opportunity for public comment, to change maximum contaminant level goals or the list of treatment techniques. Requires the Administrator, simultaneously with such change, to amend the national primary drinking water regulations concerned accordingly.

Requires the Administrator to make specified findings with respect to best available technology, treatment techniques, and other means to be used for feasible attainment of recommended maximum contaminant levels only after examination for efficacy under field conditions and not solely under research laboratory conditions. Deletes "generally" as a qualifier for the availability of such technology, techniques, and means.

Provides that, for purposes of specified provisions for national primary drinking water regulations, the best available technology which is feasible for the control of synthetic organic chemicals includes the use of adsorption techniques such as the use of granular activated carbon and other comparably effective techniques.

Makes technical and conforming amendments.

Directs the Administrator to provide the Science Advisory Board an opportunity to comment prior to proposal of a maximum contaminant level goal and national primary drinking water regulation.

Adds provisions for monitoring unregulated contaminants.

Authorizes the Administrator to take into consideration the size of a public water system and the contaminants likely to be found in its drinking water in requiring a system to monitor for unregulated contaminants.

Directs the Administrator, within 18 months after enactment of this Act, to promulgate regulations for every public water system to conduct a monitoring program for unregulated contaminants. Provides that such regulations shall: (1) require monitoring of drinking water supplied by the system; and (2) vary the frequency and schedule of monitoring requirements for systems based on the number of persons served and the contaminants likely to be found, but requires each system to monitor surface sources and representative supply wells at least once within five years after the effective date of the Administrator's regulations.

Requires such regulations to list the unregulated contaminants for which the systems may be required to monitor, but allows each State with primary enforcement authority to add or delete contaminants for individual systems on the basis of approved assessments. Requires each such State to submit to the Administrator an assessment which shall be treated as approved on the date 30 days after its submission unless disapproved by the Administrator within such 30-day period.

Requires that notification of the availability of the results of such monitoring (or of monitoring by a system which is given a waiver) be given to the persons served by the system and the Administrator.

Authorizes the Administrator to waive the monitoring requirements for a system which has conducted a monitoring program after January 1, 1983, upon determination that the program has been consistent with regulations promulgated under specified provisions for records and inspections.

Provides that any system supplying less than 150 service connections shall be treated as complying with such monitoring requirements if such system supplies appropriate water samples to the Administrator. Directs the Administrator to arrange for analysis of such samples.

Revises provisions for enforcement of national primary drinking water regulations.

Directs the Administrator to notify the public water system involved, as well as the State, in cases of noncompliance with regulations under this Act.

Directs the Administrator, if the State has not commenced appropriate enforcement action within 30 days of the notification of noncompliance, or if the State does not have primary enforcement responsibility, to either: (1) issue an order requiring the public water system to comply with the regulation or requirement; or (2) commence a civil action in the appropriate U.S. district court to require such compliance.

Sets forth provisions for compliance orders by the Administrator. Authorizes the Administrator to issue such orders in any case in which the Administrator is authorized to bring a civil action for compliance with respect to any regulation under the Act. Provides for notice and opportunity for public hearing, and an opportunity to confer with the Administrator for any State with primary enforcement responsibility, before such an order takes effect. Requires that copies of any such order issued to a corporation be issued to appropriate corporate officers. Sets forth civil penalties of up to $25,000 per day for violation of such orders. Authorizes the Administrator to assess such penalties up to $5,000 per day, but requires that such penalties above $5,000 per day be assessed by the appropriate U.S. district court.

Directs the Administrator, within 12 months after the enactment date of this Act, to amend regulation relating to public notification of such violations of regulation in order to provide for different types and frequencies of notice based on differences between intermittent or infrequent violations and those which are continuous or frequent, and taking into account the seriousness of any potential adverse health effects. Requires that notice for violations designated by the Administrator as continuous or posing a serious potential adverse health effect: (1) be given no less frequently then every three mnoths; and (2) include notice in a newspaper of general circulation serving the area served by the public water system (as determined by the Administrator).

Requires all public notices of violations to provide a clear and readily understandable explanation of the violation, the steps that the system is taking to correct such violation, and, if necessary, the consumers who should seek alternative water supplies until the violation is corrected. Provides that the regulations in effect on the enactment date of this Act shall remain in effect until such amendments are promulgated.

Revises provisions for variances.

Provides that a variance may only be issued to a public water system after a system's application of the best technolgy, treatment techniques, or other means, which the Administrator finds are available (taking cost into consideration). Directs the Administrator to propose and promulgate such findings at the time of proposal and promulgation of the maximum contaminant levels involved. Allows such finding to vary depending on the number of persons served by the system or for other physical conditions related to engineering feasibility and costs of compliance.

Requires a State to prescribe a schedule for compliance and implementation of any additional control measures at the same time it grants a variance. (Current law gives the State one year to prescribe such schedule after granting a variance.)

Revises provisions for exemptions.

Requires a State to prescribe a schedule for compliance and implementation of control measures at the same time it grants an exemption. (Current law gives the State one year to prescribe such schedule after granting an exemption.)

Requires that such schedules require compliance by the public water system with each contaminant level and treatment technique requirement with respect to which the exemption was granted as expeditiously as practicable but not later than: (1) 12 months after the enactment date of this Act, in the case of exemptions granted with respect to such a level or requirement prescribed by the national primary drinking water regulations promulgated before such enactment date; and (2) 12 months after the issuance date of the exemption, in the case of exemptions from such regulations promulgated after such enactment date.

Authorizes States with primary enforcement responsibility, or the Administrator in any other case, to extend such compliance deadlines for a period not to exceed three years after the issuance date of the exemption, if the public water system establishes that it: (1) cannot meet the standard without capital improvements which cannot be completed within the exemption period; (2) has entered into an agreement to obtain necessary financial assistance for necessary improvements; or (3) has entered into an enforceable agreement to become a part of a regional public water system. Allows one or more two-year renewals of such extensions of exemptions in the case of any system which does not serve more than 500 service connections, which needs financial assistance for the necessary improvements, and which establishes that it is taking all practicable steps to meet the standard.

Adds new provisions relating to tampering with public water systems.

Sets forth civil and criminal penalties for such tampering and for attempts or threats to tamper.

Adds new technical assistance provisions.

Authorizes the Administrator to provide technical assistance to small public water systems to enable such systems to achieve and maintain compliance with national drinking water regulations. Permits such assistance to include "circuit-rider" programs, training, and preliminary engineering studies. Authorizes appropriations for FY 1986 through 1989 for such technical assistance.

Title II: Protection of Underground Sources of Drinking Water - Revises provisions for protection of underground sources of drinking water.

Adds new provisions for restrictions on underground injection of hazardous waste.

Prohibits disposal of any hazardous waste by underground injection above or into a formation which contains (within one-quarter mile of the injection well bore) a drinking water source. Authorizes the Administrator to allow injection of contaminated ground water into the aquifer from which it was withdrawn, upon determination (pursuant to specified approved procedures) that such injection is an appropriate and environmentally acceptable aspect of a cleanup, removal, or remedial action for the contaminated acquifer.

Adds new provisions relating to the regulation of State programs.

Directs the Administrator, within 18 months after enactment of this Act, to revise regulations issued under the Act to require monitoring of underground drinking water sources down gradient from a class I injection well.

Directs the Administrator, in cooperation with the States, to compile an inventory of all wells in the United States which inject hazardous wastes. Requires that such inventory be made available to the public within nine months after the enactment of this Act. Requires that the inventory include such information as the Administrator deems necessary to define the scope and nature of hazardous waste disposal in the United States through underground injection. Provides that the Administrator, in conducting such inventory, need not be limited to the information which the States are required to make available for the inventory.

Revises provisions for enforcement of State underground injection control programs.

Directs the Administrator, if the State has not commenced appropriate enforcement action within 30 days of the notification of a violation by any person subject to a requirement of an applicable underground injection control program, or if the State does not have primary enforcement responsibility, to either: (1) issue an order requiring the person to comply with such requirement; or (2) commence a civil action in the appropriate U.S. district court to require such compliance. Declares that such court has the jurisdiction to require such compliance with any requirement of an applicable underground injection program. Raises from $5,000 to $25,000 the amount of the civil penalty which may be imposed by such court for each day of such a violation. Shortens to 30 days (currently 60 days) the period after notification which must expire before imposition of such civil penalty may begin.

Sets forth provisions for compliance orders by the Administrator. Authorizes the Administrator to also issue such orders in any case in which the Administrator is authorized to bring a civil action for compliance with respect to any requirement of an applicable underground injection program. Provides for notice and opportunity for public hearing, and an opportunity to confer with the Administrator for any State with primary enforcement responsibility, before such an order takes effect. Requires that copies of any such order issued to a corporation be issued to appropriate corporate officers. Sets forth civil penalties of up to $25,000 per day of violation of such orders. Authorizes the Administrator to assess such penalties of up to $5,000 per day of violation, but requires that such penalties above $5,000 per day be assessed by the appropriate U.S. district court.

Adds new provisions for State plans to protect underground sources of drinking water.

Requires each State, after notice and opportunity for public hearing and within 36 months after the enactment of this Act, to adopt and submit to the Administrator a comprehensive State plan to protect underground sources of drinking water from contamination that may adversely affect the health of persons. Sets forth minimum requirements for such plans.

Requires each State, to the maximum extent possible, to establish procedures, including but not limited to the establishment of technical and citizens' advisory committees to encourage the public to participate in developing the ground water protection plan.

Sets forth procedures for approval of such plans.

Prohibits any State which exercises primary enforcement responsibility for a State underground injection control program from receiving any assistance under the Act for purposes of such program if that State has not complied with specified requirements for approval or if any portion of the plan has not been approved by the Administrator before the expiration of specified periods.

Requires, in States where oil or natural gas exploration occurs, that such State plan (consistent with underground injection requirements of the Act, and with requirements of the Solid Waste Disposal Act and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act) protect underground sources of drinking water from brine contamination which may adversely affect public health and which is associated with the recovery of oil or natural gas.

Provides that no funds authorized to be appropriated under such provisions for State plans to protect underground sources of drinking water may be used to: (1) support activities authorized under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, the Solid Waste Disposal Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, or other provisions of the Act; or (2) bring individual sources of contamination into compliance.

Requires each State to: (1) make every reasonable effort to implement such State plan within two years of its adoption; and (2) submit to the Administrator a status report describing the State's progress in implementing the plan, within two years after the approval of the plan.

Directs each Federal agency conducting or supporting an activity affecting a critical recharge area identified in an approved State ground water protection plan to conduct or support those activities in a manner which is consistent with the approved plan.

Adds new provisions for protection of sole or principal source ground water recharge areas.

Allows municipalities within a sole or principal source area to initiate proceedings for the designation of a "special protection area" within such area by petitioning the State Governor to apply to the Administrator for such designation. Requires such petitions to propose boundaries for the special protection area and make specified evaluations.

Requires the Governor to take specified criteria into consideration and to approve or disapprove such petition within 180 days following receipt. Directs the Governor, upon approving such petition, to: (1) propose boundaries; (2) designate or establish a planning entity to develop a comprehensive management plan; and (3) establish procedures for public participation in plan development, for plan review, approval, and adoption, and for assistance to municipalities and other public agencies implementing the plan. Requires that the planning entity be a public agency and include local and State governmental representation. Provides that, where a local government planning agency exists with adequate authority to carry out such planning with respect to any proposed protection area, such agency must be designated as the planning entity. Directs the Governor to submit such approved petition and a summary of such actions taken to the Administrator.

Directs the Administrator to: (1) approve or disapprove such petition within 120 days after receipt; and (2) approve the petition upon making specified findings.

Authorizes the Administrator, upon approval of the petition, to make a matching grant to the State for 50 percent of the costs of petition preparation and plan development (or 60 percent of such costs in the case of a municipality with a population of 10,000 or less). Makes the designated planning entity, through the Governor, eligible for preliminary planning funds for up to a two-year period.

Directs the designated planning entity to prepare a comprehensive management plan for the special protection area. Requires that such plan: (1) be designed to maintain the quality of the ground water in the special protection area through maintenance, to the maximum extent possible, of the natural vegetative and hydrogeological conditions; (2) include specified types of information and requirements.

Requires the planning entity, during plan development to consult with and consider the comments of appropriate officials of any municipal, State, or Federal agency with jurisdiction over lands and waters within the special protection area, with other concerned organizations, and with technical and citizen advisory committees established by the Governor. Requires the planning entity to conduct public hearings at places within the special protection area to provide an opportunity for comment on any aspect of the plan.

Directs the planning entity to submit a final plan to the Governor for review. Directs the Governor to approve or disapprove the plan based upon a determination that such plan protects underground sources of drinking water covered therein from contamination that may adversely affect the health of persons. Directs the Governor to submit an approved plan to the Administrator for review. Directs the Administrator, within 120 days, to approve the plan or submit in writing to the Governor the reasons for not approving it. Authorizes the Governor to resubmit any plan which is not approved. Directs the Administrator to approve any plan which satisfies specified requirements.

Authorizes the Administrator, upon approval of the plan, to make a matching grant to the State for 50 percent of the costs of plan implementation (or 60 percent of such costs in the case of an aquifer serving a population of 10,000 or less).

Authorizes the Administrator (or any State with primary enforcement responsibility for public water systems under the Act) to issue an order requiring that adequate supplies of potable drinking water be provided to persons served by a public water system by any person who has caused or contributed to the presence of any health-threatening contaminant in any sole or principal source aquifer designated under such special protection area provisions. Allows any interested person to obtain review of such an order in the appropriate U.S. district court within 30 days after the issuance of the order. Sets forth civil penalties for violations of such orders.

Provides that nothing in such provisions for special protection areas shall be construed to restrict or preempt any legal right which any public water system or any other person (or class of persons) may have under any statute or common law regarding the contamination of any drinking water supply.

Directs the Administrator, within 12 months after the enactment of this Act, to establish, by rule, criteria for the areas to be designated sole or principal source areas and to be eligible for special protections. Requires that such criteria include aquifer use, vulnerability, water quality, and unavailability of alternative supplies of drinking water. Requires that sole or principal source area designations made before the enactment of this Act be reviewed and reevaluated in accordance with such criteria.

Title III: General Provisions - Authorizes appropriations for FY 1986 through 1989 for the following programs under the Act: (1) research, technical assistance, information, personnel training; (2) grants for State programs for supervision of public water systems; and (3) grants for State programs for underground water source protection.

Provides that any need certifications or orders issued under provisions for assurances of availability of adequate supplies of water treatment chemicals shall remain in effect for up to one year.

Directs the Administrator, upon the application of any State, to make grants to the State for 50 percent of the costs incurred by such State (as determined by the Administrator) in developing and implementing a State plan to protect underground sources of drinking water. Authorizes appropriations for such purpose for FY 1986 through 1989.

Authorizes appropriations for FY 1986 through 1989 for grants for plan implementation under provisions for special protection of sole or principal source ground water recharge areas. Provides that such matching grants may also be used to implement or update any water quality management plan for a sole or principal source aquifer approved before the enactment of this Act by the Administrator under specified provisions of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.

Repeals specified provisions for grants to public water systems which are required under State law to meet drinking water turbidity standards more stringent than those in effect under the Act.