THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
VICE PRESIDENT GORE ANNOUNCES NEW MEASURES TO PROVIDE SAFER DRINKING
WATER FOR 40 MILLION AMERICANS
Washington, D.C.--Vice President Gore today unveiled steps to protect an additional 40 million Americans from potentially dangerous microbes, including Cryptosporidium, in their drinking water. A new standard proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will provide the first-ever protection against these contaminants for people in small communities. This proposal is expected to prevent as many as 83,000 cases of waterborne illness each year.
In addition, the Vice President announced how the President's proposed $825 million Safe Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund for fiscal year 2001 would be allocated among all the states if fully funded by Congress.
"Americans enjoy some of the safest drinking water in the world. Today, more than 90 percent of the people served by community water systems receive tap water that meets all federal health standards," Gore said. " I am proud of this Administration's commitment to ensuring that every American receives safe, healthy drinking water from their tap. I am dedicated to ensuring that they receive the resources they need to continue to make that happen."
Cryptosporidium, a microscopic parasite found in animal and other organic wastes, is one of several potentially harmful microbes that can contaminate drinking water. It is highly resistant to traditional disinfection treatments, and requires advanced filtration and other processes to be removed from 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. Since then, there have been smaller cryptosporidiosis outbreaks in Nevada, Oregon and Georgia.
In December 1998, President Clinton announced the first public health standards to remove Cryptosporidium in large water systems that serve 140 million people, to prevent up to 460,000 cases of waterborne illness a year. The 1998 standards strengthened filtration and monitoring requirements to remove Cryptosporidium and other microbes.
Today's proposal would extend these public health protections by requiring 11,500 small water systems serving fewer than 10,000 people each to protect against Cryptosporidium and will improve treatment processes at water systems of all sizes. Currently, more than 18 million people are served by these smaller water systems. To help communities upgrade their water systems, the Administration's FY 2001 budget proposes $825 million for the Safe Drinking Water revolving Loan Fund. The fund, created by the Safe Drinking Water Act amendments signed in 1996 by President Clinton, provides grants to make low-interest loans to cities to upgrade the nation's drinking water systems. This initiative maintains that fifteen percent of the loans must go to small communities.
Since 1996, this revolving loan fund has made almost $3.6 billion available to water systems around the country, and this month, the EPA will have funded over 1,000 loans and grants under this program. Vice President Gore's announcement unveils what the President's proposed $825 million would mean for every state in the country. (A list of state-by-state allocations is attached.)
EPA will take public comment for 60 days on the proposals, called the "Long Term 1 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Proposed Rule" and the "Filter Backwash Proposed Rule." Additional information on the proposals can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/safewater or by calling EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.
BREAKDOWN OF SAFE DRINKING WATER GRANTS: Following is a list of the funds that would be allocated under the President's FY2001 budget proposal:
State FY01 request
Alabama $ 9,279,900 Alaska $ 7,806,300 Arizona $ 7,955,400 Arkansas $11,106,800 California $84,525,400 Colorado $10,503,400 Connecticut $ 7,806,300 Delaware $ 7,806,300 Florida $22,628,500 Georgia $16,720,600 Hawaii $ 7,806,300 Idaho $ 7,806,300 Illinois $27,134,300 Indiana $ 9,523,100 Iowa $12,319,800 Kansas $10,970,800 Kentucky $11,895,400 Louisiana $10,906,300 Maine $ 7,806,300 Maryland $ 7,806,300 Massachusetts $30,051,400 Michigan $22,966,700 Minnesota $12,996,600 Mississippi $ 9,067,300 Missouri $10,496,000 Montana $ 7,806,300 Nebraska $ 7,806,300 Nevada $ 7,806,300 New Hampshire $ 7,806,300 New Jersey $19,016,600 New Mexico $ 7,806,300 New York $49,396,100 North Carolina $14,096,400 North Dakota $ 7,806,300 Ohio $24,999,900 Oklahoma $11,207,700 Oregon $11,584,300 Pennsylvania $24,560,000 Puerto Rico $11,208,500 Rhode Island $ 7,806,300 South Carolina $ 8,407,200 South Dakota $ 7,806,300 Tennessee $10,476,800 Texas $59,210,000 Utah $ 7,806,300 Vermont $ 7,806,300 Virginia $15,231,900 Washington $21,013,000 West Virginia $ 7,806,300 Wisconsin $10,466,800 Wyoming $ 7,806,300 D.C. $ 7,806,300 Territories $ 2,576,100 Tribal $12,375,000 Unregulated Contaminants $ 2,000,000 Operator Certification $30,000,000