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                                                       Calendar No. 534
110th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                    110-242

======================================================================



 
 AMENDING THE SAFE DRINKING WATER ACT TO REAUTHORIZE THE PROVISION OF 
           TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO SMALL PUBLIC WATER SYSTEMS

                                _______
                                

               December 12, 2007.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mrs. Boxer, from the Committee on Environment and Public Works, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1429]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Environment and Public Works, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 1429) to amend the Safe Drinking Water 
Act to reauthorize the provision of technical assistance to 
small public water systems, having considered the same reports 
favorably thereon with an amendment and recommends that the 
bill, as amended, do pass.

                    General Statement and Background


                    SUMMARY AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    This Committee, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 
(EPA), state officials, health experts, and water utilities 
recognize that there are special challenges for many small 
drinking water systems seeking to provide the highest quality 
drinking water. The EPA defines a small system as one serving 
less than 3,300 people. According to EPA's 2003 assessment of 
drinking water needs, 45,000 of the nation's 54,000 community 
water systems are small systems.\1\ As noted by the National 
Academy of Sciences' National Research Council (NRC) in its 
1997 review of small system drinking water challenges, 
``meeting drinking water standards is most difficult for water 
systems in small communities. Small communities often cannot 
afford the equipment and qualified operators necessary to 
ensure compliance with safe drinking water standards.'' In its 
2003 needs assessment, the EPA concurred with the NRC, stating 
``Small water systems face many unique challenges in providing 
safe drinking water to consumers. The substantial capital 
investments required to rehabilitate, upgrade, or install 
infrastructure without the economies of scale available to 
larger systems represents on challenge. . . . [T]he costs borne 
on a per-household basis by small systems are significantly 
higher than those of larger systems.''\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\``Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment; 
Third Report to Congress,'' page 3. Environmental Protection Agency.
    \2\Ibid. 11.
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    Many of the Academies findings and recommendations continue 
to be relevant today. The Academy panel noted that increases in 
both the number of drinking water regulations and the number of 
small community water systems over the past three decades have 
made the problem of providing safe drinking water to small 
communities even more challenging. The panel suggested that 
``the solution to the problem of providing safe drinking water 
to small communities has three elements, each equally 
important: (1) providing affordable water treatment 
technologies, (2) creating the institutional structure 
necessary to ensure the financial stability of water systems, 
and (3) improving programs to train small system operators in 
all aspects of water system maintenance and management.'' Thus, 
the panel highlighted the importance of adequate funding for 
programs to train small system operators and to offer technical 
assistance.

                     Objectives of the Legislation

    The goal of the legislation is to reauthorize the small 
system technical assistance provision of the Safe Drinking 
Water Act in order to improve the technical and managerial 
capacity of small drinking water systems.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


                               SECTION 1

Summary

    This provision amends section 1442(e) of the Safe Drinking 
Water Act by reauthorizing the small system technical 
assistance grants to states, which expired in 2003, for fiscal 
years 2008 through 2012.

Discussion

    Section 1442(e) of the existing Act states that EPA may 
provide technical assistance to small public water systems to 
enable such systems to achieve and maintain compliance with 
applicable national primary drinking water regulations. This 
assistance may include circuit-rider and multi-State regional 
technical assistance programs, training, and preliminary 
engineering evaluations. EPA is required ensure that technical 
assistance pursuant to this subsection is available in each 
State. Each nonprofit organization receiving assistance under 
the subsection is required to consult with the State in which 
the assistance is to be provided before using assistance to 
undertake activities to carry out this provision. The 
subsection authorized $15 million dollars a year for such 
technical assistance. No funds provided under the State loan 
fund established under the Act, and no funds provided under 
this subsection may be used for lobbying expenses. Three 
percent of the total funds provided under this subsection must 
be used for technical assistance to public water systems owned 
or operated by Indian Tribes.
    This section further requires EPA to give priority to small 
systems organizations as determined by the Administrator, are 
qualified and will be the most effective at assisting those 
systems that have the greatest need (or a majority of need) in 
each state. This will help ensure competition among small 
systems organizations to be as effective as possible at 
assisting such systems. The provision is intended to ensure, in 
parallel with, for example, the provisions of the State loan 
fund under section 1452(b)(3)(A) of the Safe Drinking Water 
Act, that the technical assistance funds under this subsection 
are strategically targeted by the small systems organizations 
to help those systems most in need or that present the greatest 
health risks, as determined by the Administrator.

                          Legislative History

    S. 1429 was introduced on May 17, 2007 by Senator Inhofe, 
joined by original cosponsors Senators Isakson, Craig, Thomas, 
and Warner. The bill was referred to the Committee on 
Environment and Public Works, and was ordered reported 
favorably out of the Committee as amended on July 31, 2007.

                             Rollcall Votes

    S. 1429 was approved as amended by the Committee on 
Environment and Public Works by rollcall vote of 19-0 on July 
31, 2007. (Ayes--Alexander, Barrasso, Baucus, Bond, Cardin, 
Carper, Clinton, Craig, Inhofe, Isakson, Klobuchar, Lautenberg, 
Lieberman, Sanders, Vitter, Voinovich, Warner, Whitehouse, and 
Boxer).
    The Committee approved by voice vote the Craig-Inhofe 
Amendment #1, to provide priority for consideration of certain 
small systems organizations, after having approved Senator 
Klobuchar's 2nd degree amendment to that amendment, which 
requires that EPA provide priority to small water systems 
organizations that, in EPA's judgment, are most effective at 
assisting those small systems in the greatest need (or with a 
majority of need). The Klobuchar second degree amendment was 
approved by rollcall vote, 11-8. (Ayes--Baucus, Cardin, Carper, 
Clinton, Klobuchar, Lautenberg, Lieberman, Sanders, Voinovich, 
Whitehouse, and Boxer. Nays--Alexander, Barrasso, Bond, Craig, 
Inhofe, Isakson, Vitter, and Warner.)
    Senator Craig's #2 Amendment to modify the monitoring and 
testing requirements for certain residential properties that 
receive treated drinking water from another source including 
manufactured housing communities failed by rollcall vote, 9-10. 
(Nays--Baucus, Cardin, Carper, Clinton, Klobuchar, Lautenberg, 
Lieberman, Sanders, Whitehouse, Boxer. Ayes--Alexander, 
Barrasso, Bond, Craig, Inhofe, Isakson, Vitter, Voinovich, and 
Warner.)

                      Regulatory Impact Statement

    In compliance with section 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes evaluation of 
the regulatory impact of the reported bill.
    The bill does not create any additional regulatory burdens, 
nor will it cause any adverse impact on the personal privacy of 
individuals.

                          Mandates Assessment

    In compliance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 
(Pub. L. 104-4), the Committee finds that S. 1429 would impose 
no Federal intergovernmental unfunded mandates on State, local, 
or tribal governments.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    Summary: S. 1429 would authorize the appropriation of $15 
million annually over the 2008-2012 period for the 
Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) program that provides 
technical assistance to small public water systems. The 
authorization for this program expired in 2003.
    CBO estimates that implementing S. 1429 would cost $67 
million over the next five years, assuming appropriation of the 
authorized amounts. Enacting the legislation would not affect 
direct spending or revenues.
    S. 1429 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would benefit state and local governments.
    Estimated Costs to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of S. 1429 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 300 
(natural resources and environment).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                                                    2007    2008    2009    2010    2011    2012
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION

Spending for EPA Technical Assistance Under Current Law:a
    Budget Authority............................................       0       0       0       0       0       0
    Estimated Outlays...........................................       8       2       0       0       0       0
Proposed Changes:
    Authorization Level.........................................       0      15      15      15      15      15
    Estimated Outlays...........................................       0       8      14      15      15      15
Total Spending for EPA Technical Assistance Under S. 1429:a
    Authorization Level.........................................       0      15      15      15      15      15
    Estimated Outlays...........................................       8      10      14      15      15      15
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
aThere was no appropriation in 2007 for EPA technical assistance to small public water systems; outlays under
  current law stem from appropriations provided in prior years.

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that S. 
1429 will be enacted near the start of 2008, that the 
authorized amounts will be appropriated each year, and that 
outlays will follow historical spending patterns for the 
technical assistance program. This legislation would authorize 
funding for nonprofit organizations to help small public water 
systems achieve and maintain compliance with national 
regulations and to support training and engineering evaluations 
of those water systems. CBO estimates that implementing the 
bill would cost $67 million over the 2008-2012 period.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: S. 1429 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA and would authorize grants to small public 
water systems. Any costs to state and local governments, 
including matching funds, would be incurred voluntarily.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Susanne S. Mehlman; 
Impact on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Neil Hood; 
Impact on the Private Sector: Amy Petz.
    Estimate approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with section 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by the bill 
as reported are shown as follows: Existing law proposed to be 
omitted is enclosed in [black brackets], new matter is printed 
in italic, existing law in which no change is proposed is shown 
in roman:

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

                              ----------                              


  TITLE XIV OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE ACT (THE SAFE DRINKING WATER 
ACT)

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                              SHORT TITLE

  Sec. 1400. This title may be cited as the ``Safe Drinking 
Water Act''.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  Sec. 1442. (a)(1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (e) Technical Assistance.--The Administrator may provide 
technical assistance to small public water systems to enable 
such systems to achieve and maintain compliance with applicable 
national primary drinking water regulations. Such assistance 
may include circuit-rider and multi-State regional technical 
assistance programs, training, and preliminary engineering 
evaluations. The Administrator shall ensure that technical 
assistance pursuant to this subsection is available in each 
State. Each nonprofit organization receiving assistance under 
this subsection shall consult with the State in which the 
assistance is to be expended or otherwise made available before 
using assistance to undertake activities to carry out this 
subsection. There are authorized to be appropriated to the 
Administrator to be used for such technical assistance 
$15,000,000 for each of the fiscal years [1997 through 2003.] 
2008 through 2012. In providing grants under this section, the 
Administrator shall give priority to small systems 
organizations that, as determined by the Administrator, are 
qualified and will be most effective at assisting those small 
systems that have the greatest need (or a majority of need) in 
the States. No portion of any State loan fund established under 
section 1452 (relating to State loan funds) and no portion of 
any funds made available under this subsection may be used for 
lobbying expenses. Of the total amount appropriated under this 
subsection, 3 percent shall be used for technical assistance to 
public water systems owned or operated by Indian Tribes.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *