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The Safe Drinking Water Act

    The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1999, is the main federal law that ensures the quality of Americans' drinking water.  Under SDWA, EPA sets standards for drinking water quality and oversees the states, localities, and water suppliers who implement those standards.  To learn more about the Safe Drinking Water Act: 

In 1996, Congress amended the Safe Drinking Water Act to emphasize sound science and risk-based standard setting, small water supply system flexibility and technical assistance, community-empowered source water assessment and  protection, public right-to-know, and water system infrastructure assistance through a multi-billion-dollar state revolving loan fund.  For more detailed information, read:  In 1999, EPA and its partners celebrated the 25th Anniversary of SDWA by looking backwards over the successes of the past 25 years and forward to the challenges of the next 25.  Among the products of the 25th anniversary commemoration are: Historical Press Releases     Below, you will find a list of SDWA requirements, and links to information on those requirements that EPA has completed.  You may also want to review summaries of meetings related to implementation of SDWA. 

Statutory Requirements in 
the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996
(and a few other related deadlines)

1997 ~ 1998 ~ 1999 ~ 2000 ~ 2001 ~ 2002 ~ 2003 ~ 2005 .

1 9 9 7
February 2, 1997 Report to Congress -- Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey (including Indian Tribes)
Develop plan for additional research on cancer risks from exposure to low levels of arsenic (consult with NAS, other stakeholders)
Develop study plan to support development of the DBPs/microbial pathogen rules (in consultation with the Secretaries of HHS and Agriculture)
Complete review of existing State capacity development efforts and publish information to assist States and PWSs with capacity development efforts
Initiate partnership with States, PWSs, and the public to develop information for States on recommended operator certification requirements
(Released 2/28/97) Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) Guidelines (no statutory deadline)
(Agreement 2/28/97) Contract with NAS to conduct peer-reviewed assessment of the health risk reduction benefits associated with various radon mitigation alternatives (no statutory deadline)
(Released 3/12/97) Develop allotment formula for States based on 1997 Drinking Water Needs Survey (no statutory deadline)
August 6, 1997 Issue guidelines for alternative monitoring requirements
Guidance establishing procedures for State application for ground water protection grants
Publish list of technologies that meet the Surface Water Treatment Rule for systems serving 10,000-3,300 persons, 3,300-500 persons, and 500-25 persons
Guidance to States for developing source water assessment programs
Guidance to States to assist in developing source water petition programs
(STATES) Submit to EPA a list of community water systems and NTNC water systems that have a history of significant noncompliance and reasons for noncompliance
1 9 9 8
January 1, 1998 (STATES) Submit to EPA first [annual] compliance report
February 6, 1998 Publish a list of contaminants not subject to any proposed or final national primary drinking water regulation (must include sulfate).
Publish information to assist States in developing affordability criteria.
Publish information on recommended operator certification requirements, resulting from partnership with States, public water systems, and the public
July 1, 1998 Issue first [annual] report summarizing and evaluating State compliance reports
August 6, 1998 Publish guidelines for small system water conservation programs
Promulgate regulation on consumer confidence reports
Review and revise as necessary existing monitoring requirements for not fewer than 12 contaminants
Publish guidance on variance technologies for existing regulations for systems serving 10,000-3,300 persons, 3,300-500 persons, and 500-25 persons
Promulgate regulations for variances and exemptions
Publish list of technologies that achieve compliance for existing rules (except SWTR) for systems serving 10,000-3,300, 3,300-500, 500-25
Publish guidance on capacity development describing legal authorities and other means to ensure that new Community Water Systems and Non-Transient, Non-Community Water Systems demonstrate capacity
Conduct waterborne disease occurrence studies (with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
(WATER SUPPLIERS) End of transition period for water suppliers determined to be public water system as a result of modifications to Section 1401(4) (constructed conveyances)
November 1998 Promulgate Stage I Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
Promulgate Interim Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule
1 9 9 9
February 1999 Complete sulfate study with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to establish a reliable dose-response relationship
Publish guidelines specifying minimum standards for certification and recertification of water system operators
Publish health risk reduction benefits and cost analysis for potential radon standards
(STATES) Deadline for submission of programs for source water assessments
August 6, 1999 Report to Congress on State ground water protection programs
Propose radon standard
Establish National Contaminant Occurrence Data Base
Promulgate final regulation establishing criteria for a monitoring program for unregulated contaminants
September 1999 Underground Injection Control Class V study (judicial deadline)
October 1999 Final determination on whether States have legal authorities or other means in place and are implementing to ensure new system capacity. (for purposes of DWSRF withholding determination)
Underground Injection Control Class V rule (judicial deadline)
2 0 0 0
January 1, 2000 Propose standard for arsenic
April 2000 Promulgate rule on public notification
August 2000 Report to Congress on DWSRF transfer of funds
Promulgate final radon standard
Conduct studies to identify subpopulations at greater risk and report to Congress (PDF file)
October 2000 Determine if States have met §1420 requirements related to capacity development strategy (for purpose of DWSRF withholding determinations)
November 2000 Promulgate Final LT1 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule
Promulgate final rule on radionuclides (judicial deadline)
Winter 2000 Promulgate final rule on ground water determining when disinfection is necessary (EPA schedule)
2 0 0 1
January 1, 2001 Promulgate final standard for arsenic
February 2001 2nd Needs Survey Report to Congress
2nd Needs Survey for Indian Tribes
Determine State compliance with operator certification guidelines for purposes of DWSRF withholding
June 2001 Promulgate a regulation for filter backwash recycling within the treatment process of a PWS, unless addressed in SWTR
August 2001
Make determinations of whether or not to regulate at least 5 contaminants from contaminant candidate list
(STATES) Report to EPA on success of enforcement mechanisms and assistance efforts in capacity development
November 2001 (STATES) Complete local source water assessments
With FY 2003 Budget Report to Congress -- Evaluation of effectiveness of State DWSRF loan funds 
2 0 0 2
May 2002 Promulgate Stage II Disinfection Byproducts Rule
Promulgate LT2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (EPA schedule)
Promulgate Phase II rule on UIC Class V wells 
September 2002 (STATES) Submit publicly-available report to Governors on efficacy of State capacity development strategy and progress in implementation
2 0 0 3
May 2003 (STATES) Extension deadline for States to complete local source water assessments
August 2003 Propose MCLG and national primary drinking water regulation for any contaminant selected for regulation from contaminant candidate list
2 0 0 5
February 2005 Final MCLG and rule for any contaminant selected for regulation from contaminant candidate list
3rd Drinking Water Needs Survey for States and Tribes

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