President Obama signs the Grassroots Rural and Small Community Water System Assistance Act
WASHINGTON, DC- On Friday, President Obama signed into law S. 611, the Grassroots Rural and Small Community Water Systems Assistance Act. The bill, sponsored by Senators Roger Wicker (R – Mississippi) and Heidi Heitkamp (D – N. Dakota) amends the Safe Drinking Water Act to reauthorize technical assistance to small public water systems. With these funds, EPA partners with non-profit organizations, including the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP), that provide onsite technical assistance and training to small communities and to private well owners to help them comply with federal drinking water regulations. The legislation enjoyed strong bipartisan support and passed in the Senate and the House by voice vote.
RCAP’s Executive Director, Robert Stewart, testified in support of the bill on October 22 of this year. “RCAP supports this bipartisan effort to reauthorize technical assistance for small community water systems,” Stewart said of the bill’s passage. “We thank Senators Wicker and Heitkamp and Representatives Harper and Tonko for their leadership on this issue, and hope that this legislation will serve as a model for Congress to work on a bipartisan basis to address rural America’s substantial water infrastructure needs.”
In the past year, funds provided by EPA’s technical assistance program have enabled RCAP to provide direct assistance to 266 communities and hold 184 trainings across the county, ensuring that rural communities have access to clean and safe drinking water. Examples of assistance include the Union Church Waterworks Association in Mississippi where RCAP staff worked on increasing capacity to ensure sustainability and minimize Safe Drinking Water Act compliance issues.
“This program is integral to achieving EPA’s goals for the long-term sustainability of rural water systems and the agency’s efforts to ensure that all Americans have access to clean, safe drinking water at an affordable rate,” added Stewart.
ABOUT RCAP: The Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) is a national network of six regional RCAPs working to ensure that rural and small communities through the United States have access to safe drinking water and sanitary wastewater disposal. The Partnership provides a variety of programs to accomplish this goal, such as direct training and technical assistance. For more information, visit www.rcap.org.
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