By Lynn Thorp, National Campaigns Director – Follow Lynn on Twitter (@LTCWA)
Celebrating 40 years of Safe Drinking Water
Today is the 40th anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Like our drinking water itself, a lot of people don’t think much about SDWA (pronounced Sid Wah) until there is a problem. But the important thing about our nation’s landmark drinking water law is that its implementation chugs along no matter what. Today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the water sector including the Public Water Systems regulated by SDWA and public health and environmental organizations can celebrate four decades of progress in setting standards for contaminants, in research, in public education and in fascinating evolution of understanding about the complexities of providing water to the public and of what it means to regulate that activity.
When I woke up this morning, DC was experiencing a water main break and thus disruptions to traffic and Metro service downtown. Our water infrastructure is just one example of the miracles and challenges implicit in the business of water. Most of the time, those pipes bring water to our taps for drinking, cooking, bathing and so many other daily activities in our homes and businesses. Most people don’t think much about it until one of those pipes break. Then we notice, mostly in frustration. Water infrastructure replacement and modernization will be one of the great challenges of the next 40 years. Not only do we need to invest billions of dollars in these deteriorating systems, but we are learning fascinating things about what goes on in those pipes and how that relates to public health protection.
There are other challenges, including reforming how we regulate all of our activities so that our drinking water sources are better protected. Clean Water Actions likes to say we should Put Drinking Water First, by which we mean making the ultimate impact on drinking water sources a primary consideration when we are controlling pollution from the many activities which can lead to contamination. How we get our energy, how we grow and make our food, how we manufacture products and how we build our cities and towns all impact drinking water quality. Read the rest of this entry »