The Safe Drinking Water Act: A New Take

Congressman Tonko works to reauthorize the SDWA, releasing a plan to upgrade infrastructure

In light of several issues we have seen revolving around water – from lead in Flint, to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in Hoosick Falls, and the recent water-main break in Troy, we see that there is a rapidly fading infrastructure and workforce in regards to water management.

Congressman Paul Tonko has been working with Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) to  release legislation that would allow for a reauthorization of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and allocate funding over the next five years to be provided to local water-line improvements.  After a tour of the Capital Region’s water infrastructure, Tonko stated, “We learned quickly it wasn’t just capital and physical infrastructure but human infrastructure as well.  We need new people for training and certification.”

As seen in both Flint and Hoosick Falls, high levels of these toxic pollutants have been brought to light – both initiated on a community-driven level, showing the inadequacy of the current system’s faulty monitoring, among other legal and governmental issues.

While the SDWA created the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) and allocated funding back in 2014 to allow for water quality upgrades in New York, it is imperative that additional resources be allocated to the revolving state funding actall which helped, lead to the formation of AQUA,  the Assistance, Quality, and Affordability Act.

AQUA serves to provide funding throughout 2021 to allocate $20 billion for the local water infrastructure and maintenance upgrades, including workforce development.  In addition, this funding will provide assistance to the federal government in being able to properly assess risks and grants for regions most affected by issues related to climate change – such as drought.


For the full text of H.R. 4653 Affordability, Quality, and Affordability Act of 2016, please click here.