Testers rural water bill passes Congress
Senator’s bill to ensure clean drinking water set to become law
(U.S. Senate) – After unanimously passing the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, Senator Jon Tester’s rural water bill is on its way to the President’s desk and is set to become law.
Tester’s Grassroots Rural and Small Community Water Systems Act reauthorizes a $15 million per year grant for five years to provide technical assistance for rural public water infrastructure systems and training for their employees in an effort to ensure rural communities have clean drinking water.
“There is nothing more important for the health of a town than having access to clean water,” Tester said, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “My bill takes a step in making sure water systems have the resources they need to provide safe drinking water to the families and small businesses in their communities. I urge the President to sign it so we can support these important public health resources on the ground in rural Montana.”
Tester’s bill reauthorizes a provision of the Safe Water Act Amendments of 1996 that expired in 2004, establishing grants for non-profit organizations that provide onsite technical, circuit-rider, and training assistance to rural and small community water systems to ensure they can comply with federal safe drinking water standards.
Over 77 percent of all community water systems across the country serve populations with fewer than 3,300 people, and over 90 percent of community water systems serve populations of fewer than 10,000.
This spring Tester introduced a bipartisan bill that establishes a guaranteed annual investment to construct congressionally authorized rural water systems.
Last month Tester sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee urging them to better support rural water projects.