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114th Congress   }                                     {        Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session     }                                     {       114-346

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



 
   GRASSROOTS RURAL AND SMALL COMMUNITY WATER SYSTEMS ASSISTANCE ACT

                                _______
                                

 November 19, 2015.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Mr. Upton, from the Committee on Energy and Commerce, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 611]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Energy and Commerce, to whom was referred 
the bill (S. 611) to amend the Safe Drinking Water Act to 
reauthorize technical assistance to small public water systems, 
and for other purposes, having considered the same, report 
favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill 
do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     2
Hearings.........................................................     3
Committee Consideration..........................................     3
Committee Votes..................................................     3
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     3
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............     3
New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures     3
Earmark, Limited Tax Benefits, and Limited Tariff Benefits.......     3
Committee Cost Estimate..........................................     4
Congressional Budget Office Estimate.............................     4
Federal Mandates Statement.......................................     5
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................     5
Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings..............................     5
Advisory Committee Statement.....................................     5
Applicability to Legislative Branch..............................     5
Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation...................     5
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     7

                          Purpose and Summary

    The purpose of S. 611 is to amend the Safe Drinking Water 
Act to reauthorize technical assistance to small public water 
systems, and for other purposes.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    According to the Census Bureau, approximately twenty-seven 
percent of the U.S. population lives in a rural area.\1\ The 
smallest water systems (serving fewer than 3,300 persons, many 
serving small clusters of homes) account for seventy-seven 
percent of all systems and have a similarly high percentage of 
systems in significant noncompliance with drinking water 
regulations.\2\
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    Many of these smaller and rural communities--with 
populations of 10,000 or less--face significant challenges in 
maintaining, replacing, or upgrading aging and obsolete 
drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.\3\ Unlike water 
systems in larger urban markets, these same small and rural 
communities do not have the rate base to fund the cost of some 
projects and still maintain affordable rates. Many small and 
rural communities have limited access to financial markets, 
restricting their ability to issue bonds to raise capital.\4\ 
As a result, these communities depend heavily on Federal and 
State grants and subsidized loan programs to finance their 
needs.
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    A major source of financial stress for small and rural 
drinking water supply systems is compliance with a number of 
drinking water regulations issued by the Environmental 
Protection Agency (EPA) under the Safe Drinking Water Act 
(SDWA), including system monitoring, treatment to remove 
certain contaminants, and reporting. While EPA estimates that 
regulatory compliance will protect the health of millions of 
people, these communities may need technical assistance to help 
find the most cost-effective way to meet these new standards. 
In addition, financial constraints on small and rural public 
water systems make repair and replacement of equipment 
challenging. Technical assistance enables small public water 
systems to identify affordable repair and replacement options 
for their systems.
    Since many small and rural public water systems lack the 
resources or access to certain technical professionals, SDWA 
section 1442(e) provides EPA authority to provide technical 
assistance to ``small public water systems'' to enable these 
systems to achieve and maintain compliance with applicable 
Federal drinking water regulations and to help small public 
water systems respond to environmental stressors, including 
through ``circuit-rider and multi-state regional technical 
assistance programs, training, and preliminary engineering 
evaluations.'' As an example, in 2012 the Government 
Accountability Office found that preparing additional 
engineering reports could cost from $5,000 to $50,000 and that 
the cost of a typical environmental analysis could add as 
little as $500 to a community's costs or as much as $15,000.\5\
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                                Hearings

    The Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy held a 
hearing on S. 611 on October 22, 2015. The Subcommittee 
received testimony from:
     Kirby Mayfield, Executive Director, Mississippi 
Rural Water Association, on behalf of the National Rural Water 
Association;
     Robert B. Stewart, Executive Director, Rural 
Community Assistance Partnership, Inc.; and
     The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPAs 
testimony was submitted in writing for the hearing record).

                        Committee Consideration

    On Wednesday, October 28, 2015, the Subcommittee on 
Environment and the Economy met in open markup session and 
forwarded S. 611 to the full Committee, without amendment, by a 
voice vote. On November 17 and 18, 2015, the full Committee on 
Energy and Commerce met in open markup session and ordered S. 
611 reported to the House, without amendment, by a voice vote.

                            Committee Votes

    Clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires the Committee to list the record votes 
on the motion to report legislation and amendments thereto. 
There were no record votes taken in connection with ordering S. 
611 reported.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Subcommittee on Environment and 
the Economy held hearings on February 27, 2015 and October 22, 
2015, and made findings that are reflected in this report.

         Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives

    The goals and objectives of S. 611 are to amend the Safe 
Drinking Water Act to reauthorize technical assistance to small 
public water systems, and for other purposes.

   New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee finds that S. 
611, would result in no new or limited increased budget 
authority, entitlement authority, or tax expenditures or 
revenues.

       Earmark, Limited Tax Benefits, and Limited Tariff Benefits

    In compliance with clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI 
of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the Committee 
finds that S. 611 contains no earmarks, limited tax benefits, 
or limited tariff benefits.

                        Committee Cost Estimate

    The Committee adopts as its own the cost estimate prepared 
by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office pursuant to 
section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

                  Congressional Budget Office Estimate

    The Committee adopts as its own the cost estimate prepared 
by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office pursuant to 
section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974. At the 
time this report was filed, the estimate was not available. 
However, a cost estimate was prepared for S. 611, as ordered 
reported by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public 
Works on April 29, 2015, and is provided below. The bill, as 
ordered reported by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce 
on November 19, 2015, has not been amended since the April 29 
cost estimate.

S. 611--Grassroots Rural and Small Community Water Systems Assistance 
        Act

    Summary: S. 611 would authorize the appropriation of $15 
million annually over the 2016-2020 period for the 
Environmental Protection Agency's program that provides 
technical assistance to small public water systems. The 
authorization for this program expired in 2003, but the program 
received an appropriation of $13 million for fiscal year 2015. 
CBO estimates that implementing S. 611 would cost $67 million 
over the next five years, assuming appropriation of the 
authorized amounts. Pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply to S. 
611 because it would not affect direct spending or revenues.
    S. 611 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA).
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of S. 611 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--
                                                         -------------------------------------------------------
                                                            2016     2017     2018     2019     2020   2016-2020
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
 
Authorization Level.....................................       15       15       15       15       15        75
Estimated Outlays.......................................        8       14       15       15       15        67
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that S. 
611 will be enacted by the end of fiscal year 2015, that the 
specified amounts will be appropriated in each year starting in 
2016, and that outlays will follow historical spending patterns 
for the technical assistance program. The 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.
    Pay-As-You-Go considerations: None.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: S. 611 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA. Activities authorized in the bill would assist 
public water systems to comply with national standards for 
primary drinking water.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Susanne S. Mehlman; 
Impact on state, local, and tribal governments: Jon Sperl; 
Impact on the private sector: Amy Petz.
    Estimate approved by: Theresa Gullo, Assistant Director for 
Budget Analysis.

                       Federal Mandates Statement

    The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of Federal 
mandates prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office pursuant to section 423 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act.

                    Duplication of Federal Programs

    No provision of S. 611 establishes or reauthorizes a 
program of the Federal Government known to be duplicative of 
another Federal program, a program that was included in any 
report from the Government Accountability Office to Congress 
pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program 
related to a program identified in the most recent Catalog of 
Federal Domestic Assistance.

                  Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings

    The Committee estimates that enacting S. 611 does not 
direct any rule makings within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 551 to 
be completed.

                      Advisory Committee Statement

    No advisory committees within the meaning of section 5(b) 
of the Federal Advisory Committee Act were created by this 
legislation.

                  Applicability to Legislative Branch

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not relate to 
the terms and conditions of employment or access to public 
services or accommodations within the meaning of section 
102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act.

             Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation


Section 1. Short title

    This section provides that the Act may be cited as the 
Grassroots Rural and Small Community Water Systems Assistance 
Act.

Section 2. Findings

    This section establishes findings related to the Safe 
Drinking Water Act's technical assistance program, including 
its positive impact on helping ease the burden of Federal 
requirements and responding to emergency situations in small 
and rural communities.

Section 3. Sense of Congress

    This section states that it is the sense of Congress that 
the EPA should prioritize the types of technical assistance 
that are most beneficial to the small and rural communities 
being served and that local support is key to successful 
assistance initiatives.

Section 4. Funding priorities

    This section would amend SDWA section 1442(e) (42 U.S.C. 
300j-1(e)) to reauthorize the EPA's program providing technical 
assistance to small public water systems.
    Specifically, section 4(1) restructures SDWA section 
1442(e) by making each sentence in the subsection into its own 
paragraph.
    Next, section 4(2) maintains the existing statutory 
authorization in SDWA section 1442(e) of $15 million annually 
(including three percent for technical assistance to public 
water systems owned or operated by Indian Tribes), but changes 
the new SDWA section 1442(e)(5) to cover funding for fiscal 
year 2015 through fiscal year 2020.
    Finally, section 4(3) adds at the end of section 1442(e) a 
new paragraph (8), containing three subparagraphs.
    First, new SDWA section 1442(e)(8)(A) authorizes EPA to use 
funding for SDWA section 1442 to provide grants or cooperative 
agreements to non-profit organizations to provide technical 
assistance under SDWA to small public water systems to help 
these systems achieve and maintain compliance with national 
primary drinking water regulations. In addition, this 
subparagraph clarifies that non-profit entities eligible for 
these grants or cooperative agreements provide small public 
water systems onsite technical assistance, circuit-rider 
technical assistance programs, onsite and regional training, 
assistance with implementing source water protection plans, and 
assistance with implementing monitoring plans, rules, 
regulations, and water security enhancements.
    While the Committee recognizes that the purpose of SDWA 
section 1442(e) is to provide technical assistance under SDWA 
to small public water systems to help these systems achieve and 
maintain compliance with national primary drinking water 
regulations, it also understands that the list is not limited 
by concern addressed, but by the requirement that the activity 
be tied to achieving and maintaining a system's viability in 
providing safe drinking water. The Committee envisions that a 
range of technical assistance could be provided to small public 
water systems to help them address challenges that these 
systems experience, such as source water protection, system 
monitoring and efficiency, sustainability, and water security.
    Second, new SDWA section 1442(e)(8)(B) requires preference 
in awarding grants to the non-profits identified in new SDWA 
section 1442(e)(8)(B) that the Administrator determines are 
most qualified and experienced in providing training and 
technical assistance to small public water systems and that 
small public water systems find most beneficial and effective. 
While effectiveness and expertise are not explicit statutory 
requirements for making a grant under S. 611, the Committee 
expects that the Agency will continue to make these a 
consideration in providing funding to non-profits that provide 
technical assistance. In addition, the Committee does not 
intend S. 611 to require EPA to conduct national surveys to 
determine which non-profits are most qualified and experienced 
and that small public water systems find most beneficial and 
effective. Instead, the Committee prefers that the Agency 
minimize the Administrative burden on itself, the non-profits, 
and the eligible small and rural water public water systems in 
meeting the requirements of the law.
    Last, new SDWA section 1442(e)(8)(C) prohibits grants and 
cooperative agreements awarded under SDWA section 1442(e) from 
being used to bring a citizen suit under SDWA.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, 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, and existing law in which no 
change is proposed is shown in roman):

                        SAFE DRINKING WATER ACT


               TITLE XIV--SAFETY OF PUBLIC WATER SYSTEMS


                              SHORT TITLE

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

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Part E--General Provisions

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



   research, technical assistance, information, training of personnel

    Sec. 1442. (a)(1) The Administrator may conduct research, 
studies, and demonstrations relating to the causes, diagnosis, 
treatment, control, and prevention of physical and mental 
diseases and other impairments of man resulting directly or 
indirectly from contaminants in water, or to the provision of a 
dependably safe supply of drinking water, including--
            (A) improved methods (i) to identify and measure 
        the existence of contaminants in drinking water 
        (including methods which may be used by State and local 
        health and water officials), and (ii) to identify the 
        source of such contaminants;
            (B) improved methods to identify and measure the 
        health effects of contaminants in drinking water;
            (C) new methods of treating raw water to prepare it 
        for drinking, so as to improve the efficiency of water 
        treatment and to remove contaminants from water;
            (D) improved methods for providing a dependably 
        safe supply of drinking water, including improvements 
        in water purification and distribution, and methods of 
        assessing the health related hazards of drinking water; 
        and
            (E) improved methods of protecting underground 
        water sources of public water systems from 
        contamination.
            (2) Information and research facilities.--In 
        carrying out this title, the Administrator is 
        authorized to--
                    (A) collect and make available information 
                pertaining to research, investigations, and 
                demonstrations with respect to providing a 
                dependably safe supply of drinking water, 
                together with appropriate recommendations in 
                connection with the information; and
                    (B) make available research facilities of 
                the Agency to appropriate public authorities, 
                institutions, and individuals engaged in 
                studies and research relating to this title.
    (3) The Administrator shall carry out a study of 
polychlorinated biphenyl contamination of actual or potential 
sources of drinking water, contamination of such sources by 
other substances known or suspected to be harmful to public 
health, the effects of such contamination, and means of 
removing, treating, or otherwise controlling such 
contamination. To assist in carrying out this paragraph, the 
Administrator is authorized to make grants to public agencies 
and private nonprofit institutions.
    (4) The Administrator shall conduct a survey and study of--
            (A) disposal of waste (including residential waste) 
        which may endanger underground water which supplies, or 
        can reasonably be expected to supply, any public water 
        systems, and
            (B) means of control of such waste disposal.
Not later than one year after the date of enactment of this 
title, he shall transmit to the Congress the results of such 
survey and study, together with such recommendations as he 
deems appropriate.
    (5) The Administrator shall carry out a study of methods of 
underground injection which do not result in the degradation of 
underground drinking water sources.
    (6) The Administrator shall carry out a study of methods of 
preventing, detecting, and dealing with surface spills of 
contaminants which may degrade underground water sources for 
public water systems.
    (7) The Administrator shall carry out a study of virus 
contamination of drinking water sources and means of control of 
such contamination.
    (8) The Administrator shall carry out a study of the nature 
and extent of the impact on underground water which supplies or 
can reasonably be expected to supply public water systems of 
(A) abandoned injection or extraction wells; (B) intensive 
application of pesticides and fertilizers in underground water 
recharge areas; and (C) ponds, pools, lagoons, pits, or other 
surface disposal of contaminants in underground water recharge 
areas.
    (9) The Administrator shall conduct a comprehensive study 
of public water supplies and drinking water sources to 
determine the nature, extent, sources of and means of control 
of contamination by chemicals or other substances suspected of 
being carcinogenic. Not later than six months after the date of 
enactment of this title, he shall transmit to the Congress the 
initial results of such study, together with such 
recommendations for further review and corrective action as he 
deems appropriate.
    (10) The Administrator shall carry out a study of the 
reaction of chlorine and humic acids and the effects of the 
contaminants which result from such reaction on public health 
and on the safety of drinking water, including any carcinogenic 
effect.
    (b) The Administrator is authorized to provide technical 
assistance and to make grants to States, or publicly owned 
water systems to assist in responding to and alleviating any 
emergency situation affecting public water systems (including 
sources of water for such systems) which the Administrator 
determines to present substantial danger to the public health. 
Grants provided under this subsection shall be used only to 
support those actions which (i) are necessary for preventing, 
limiting or mitigating danger to the public health in such 
emergency situation and (ii) would not, in the judgment of the 
Administrator, be taken without such emergency assistance. The 
Administrator may carry out the program authorized under this 
subparagraph as part of, and in accordance with the terms and 
conditions of, any other program of assistance for 
environmental emergencies which the Administrator is authorized 
to carry out under any other provision of law. No limitation on 
appropriations for any such other program shall apply to 
amounts appropriated under this subparagraph.
    (c) The Administrator shall--
            (1) provide training for, and make grants for 
        training (including postgraduate training) of (A) 
        personnel of State agencies which have primary 
        enforcement responsibility and of agencies or units of 
        local government to which enforcement responsibilities 
        have been delegated by the State, and (B) personnel who 
        manage or operate public water systems, and
            (2) make grants for postgraduate training of 
        individuals (including grants to educational 
        institutions for traineeships) for purposes of 
        qualifying such individuals to work as personnel 
        referred to in paragraph (1).
Reasonable fees may be charged for training provided under 
paragraph (1)(B) to persons other than personnel of State or 
local agencies but such training shall be provided to personnel 
of State or local agencies without charge.
    (d) There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out 
subsection (b) not more than $35,000,000 for the fiscal year 
2002 and such sums as may be necessary for each fiscal year 
thereafter.
    (e) Technical Assistance.--(1) 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. (2) 
Such assistance may include circuit-rider and multi-State 
regional technical assistance programs, training, and 
preliminary engineering evaluations. (3) The Administrator 
shall ensure that technical assistance pursuant to this 
subsection is available in each State. (4) 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. (5) 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] 2015 through 2020. (6) 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. (7) 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.
            (8) Nonprofit organizations.--
                    (A) In general.--The Administrator may use 
                amounts made available to carry out this 
                section to provide grants or cooperative 
                agreements to nonprofit organizations that 
                provide to small public water systems onsite 
                technical assistance, circuit-rider technical 
                assistance programs, multistate, regional 
                technical assistance programs, onsite and 
                regional training, assistance with implementing 
                source water protection plans, and assistance 
                with implementing monitoring plans, rules, 
                regulations, and water security enhancements.
                    (B) Preference.--To ensure that technical 
                assistance funding is used in a manner that is 
                most beneficial to the small and rural 
                communities of a State, the Administrator shall 
                give preference under this paragraph to 
                nonprofit organizations that, as determined by 
                the Administrator, are the most qualified and 
                experienced in providing training and technical 
                assistance to small public water systems and 
                that the small community water systems in that 
                State find to be the most beneficial and 
                effective.
                    (C) Limitation.--No grant or cooperative 
                agreement provided or otherwise made available 
                under this section may be used for litigation 
                pursuant to section 1449.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


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