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NTC PRES. CLINTON ANNOUNCED NEW MEASURES TO STRENGTHEN DRINKING WATER PROTECTIONS
Release Date: 12/03/98
FOR RELEASE: THURSDAY, DECEMBER 3, 1998
Today, President Clinton announced new measures to strengthen drinking water protections for 140 million Americans. New public health standards – the first to be issued under the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of l996 – will protect against Cryptosporidium, other disease-causing microbes and potentially harmful byproducts of the water treatment process.
In addition, the President is releasing $775 million to states for low-interest loans to help communities upgrade their drinking water treatment systems and protect watersheds.
Attached is a White House fact sheet and a list of the l999 grant amounts each state will receive for drinking water improvements.
PRESIDENT CLINTON:SAFE DRINKING WATER FOR AMERICA'S FAMILIES
December 3, 1998
Today, after touring a water treatment plant in Newport, Rhode Island, President Clinton will
announce new measures to strengthen drinking water protections for 140 million Americans. The new public
health standards -- the first to be issued under the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996 -- will
protect against Cryptosporidium, a microscopic parasite, other disease-causing microbes, and potentially
harmful byproducts of the water treatment process. In addition, the President will announce the release of
$775 million to states for low-interest loans to help communities upgrade their water treatment systems.
Safeguarding Our Drinking Water. Americans enjoy the safest drinking water in the world. Eighty-six percent
of this country's tapwater fully meets our tough federal standards. Since 1993, 10 million more Americans are
receiving water from utilities reporting no violations of federal health standards. Yet threats remain, and
President Clinton is working to make our water even safer. Major reforms of the Safe Drinking Water Act
proposed by the President, and passed by Congress in 1996, are leading to stronger standards and providing
communities with the resources to meet them. In August, the President announced a key step under these reforms
-- new rules requiring utilities to provide their customers with regular reports on the quality of their drinking
New Standards to Protect Public Health. The Safe Drinking Water Act amendments focus federal research and
regulatory efforts on the contaminants that pose the greatest risk. In coming years, guided by new data and
science, the Environmental Protection Agency will adopt several new drinking water standards and tighten
existing ones. Today, the President will announce the first two sets of standards under the 1996 amendments:
Cryptosporidium, a microscopic parasite found in animal and other organic wastes, is one of several
potentially harmful microbes that can contaminate drinking water. A 1993 Cryptosporidium outbreak in
Milwaukee sickened 400,000 people, hospitalized more than 4,000, and caused more than 50 deaths
among people with weakened immune systems. Many other cases go undetected. By requiring improved
filtration and monitoring in water systems serving 60 million people nationwide, the new standards will
prevent up to 460,000 cases of waterborne illness a year.
Disinfection Byproducts are potentially harmful compounds created during the water treatment process.
One of the great health advances of the 20th century is the control of cholera, typhoid, and other diseases
through the disinfection of drinking water. However, disinfectants can combine with natural organic
material in water to create byproducts, some of which cause cancer or birth defects in laboratory
animals. The new standards will require improved treatment practices in water systems serving 140
million people nationwide, reducing exposure to these byproducts by 25 percent.
New Funding For States, Communities. The 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act amendments authorized a $9.6
billion fund, proposed by President Clinton, to help upgrade drinking water systems. Today, the President will
announce the latest round of grants to states and U.S. territories -- a total of $775 million in fiscal year 1999.
These grants will be used by State Revolving Loan Funds to provide low-interest loans to municipalities to
improve water systems and protect watersheds. In addition, EPA is releasing $93.8 million in grants to states to
support their drinking water programs.
HELPING STATES AND COMMUNITIES IMPROVE THEIR DRINKING WATER
December 3, 1998
President Clinton today is announcing nearly $870 million in grants to states and U.S.
territories to support efforts to improve the quality of America's drinking water.
The bulk -- $775 million -- comes from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund proposed by
the President and authorized by the 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act. These
funds are used by states to provide low-interest loans to municipalities to construct or upgrade
drinking water systems, and to prevent contamination through improved watershed protection.
In addition, the President is announcing $93.8 million in Public Water Supply Supervision
grants. These funds are used by state drinking water programs to monitor drinking water
quality, enforce drinking water standards, and provide technical assistance to local
Drinking Water State Public Water Supply
States Revolving Funds Supervision Grants
District of Columbia
Other U.S. Territories (4)