House Passes Bennet-Backed Rural Water Bill

Bipartisan Proposal Would Help Enable Small Communities to Meet Safe Drinking Water Standards

Washington, DC - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet applauded the passage of the Grassroots Rural and Small Community Water Systems Act by the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill-passed unanimously by the Senate in June - will help small and rural communities comply with safe drinking water regulations. Bennet helped introduce the bill earlier this year with Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND). It now heads to the White House to be signed into law.

"In their efforts to provide clean drinking water to Coloradans, rural water providers often don't have access to the tools and resources needed to comply with drinking water regulations," Bennet said. "This bill ensures that technical assistance and training is available to help these providers find the support they need and provide clean drinking water for Colorado families."

The bipartisan bill reauthorizes the Safe Drinking Water Act's technical assistance and training provisions for $15 million per year over the next six years - the same as was previously authorized - to assist small and rural public water systems in complying with drinking water standards.

More than 50,000 small and rural communities, comprising more than 90 percent of the drinking water supplies in the country, are responsible for providing safe, clean water to their citizens. The Environmental Protection Agency's technical assistance and training programs assist these communities in securing the necessary technical expertise to improve and protect their water resources. Colorado has approximately 2,200 small rural water systems, and the Colorado Rural Water Association has provided technical assistance through this program to more than half of them.

The last authorization of the bill expired in 2004.

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