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EPA Assistant Administrator Praises Safe Drinking Water Act, Challenges Americans to Build on 30 Years of Progress

Release Date: 12/16/2004
Contact Information: Laura Niles, (404) 562-8353, niles.laura@epa.gov
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Administrator for Water, Benjamin Grumbles, celebrated 30 years of progress under the Safe Drinking Water Act today at the Clayton County, Georgia Water Authority.  The Assistant Administrator visited the Clayton County Water Authority to see how the utility is using innovative technology for making drinking water safer in the 21st century. 

“Today, we salute the Safe Drinking Water Act and the many Americans who work hard to make sure our water is safe to drink,” Mr. Grumbles said. “We can all help – by working within our own communities to prevent contamination in the lakes, rivers, streams, and underground aquifers that are the source of our water supply.”

Mr. Grumbles praised the Clayton County Water Authority for taking action to go beyond regulatory requirements in ensuring that their customers have access to safe drinking water.  In addition to conventional treatment, the Authority uses ultraviolet disinfection at all of their treatment plants to provide greater removal of microbial pathogens that can negatively impact human health by causing gastrointestinal illness.

The Safe Drinking Water Act, signed December 16, 1974, governs a mandatory national program to protect public health through drinking water safety.  In the United States, more than 53,000 community water systems test for the presence of up to 90 contaminants that are regulated in drinking water. In the last 30 years, the percentage of individuals and communities receiving safe, clean water that meets public health standards has increased significantly.

EPA encourages citizens to learn more about where their drinking water comes from and how it is treated by reading their water utility’s annual water quality report.  Additionally, States have identified potential sources of contamination that could affect drinking water for nine out of every ten community water systems in the nation.  Local governments, business, and residents can use this information to take actions to prevent drinking water from becoming contaminated.

Throughout 2005, EPA will recognize the anniversary of the Act by conducting a campaign focused on four themes: “Community Water Systems:  The Backbone of Public Health;” “Protecting Sources of Drinking Water;” “Public Involvement in Safe Drinking Water;” and “Planning for the Future.” Visit www.epa.gov/safewater/sdwa/30th to view fact sheets created in commemoration of the anniversary and for updates on events and activities.