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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 17, 2001


When we turn on our taps, Americans expect the water that comes out to be clean and safe. Access to clean, safe water is fundamental to our quality of life. That is why my Administration has made providing clean, safe tap water to all communities a top priority. As a result, since 1993, the number of Americans receiving tap water that meets tough federal health standards has increased by 23 million.

Today, I am pleased that this Administration is taking further action to improve the quality of our drinking water by strengthening the drinking water standard for arsenic. This new drinking water standard will provide additional public health protections for 13 million Americans, including protections from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other health problems.

My Administration has worked hard to ensure that Americans enjoy the safest drinking water in the world. I proposed and, in 1996, signed amendments to significantly strengthen the Safe Drinking Water Act. In implementing this new law, my Administration has already provided added protections for consumers from dangerous, disease-causing microbes such as Cryptosporidium, preventing as many as 460,000 cases of illness a year. We have ensured that Americans have the information they need to make important public health decisions for themselves and their families by requiring that 55,000 water systems provide new, annual reports to their customers on the quality of their drinking water. And, recognizing that good water quality comes at a cost, we have established the first-ever fund for drinking water system improvements, providing states with $3.6 billion to date in low-interest loans for treatment system construction and upgrades.

Together with the new action we are taking today, these steps will ensure that our families continue to enjoy, safe clean drinking water.