Washington, D.C. — Today, U. S. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) announced that their the Drinking Water Protection Act has passed the House and Senate and is now headed to the President for signature. This legislation will direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop and report to Congress a strategic Algal Toxin Risk Assessment and Management Plan within 90 days. The Plan will evaluate the risk to human health from drinking water provided by public water systems contaminated with algal toxins and recommend feasible treatment options, including procedures and source water protection practices, to mitigate any adverse public health effects of algal toxins. Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH-05) authored this legislation in the House.

“Last summer, families in Toledo were warned not to drink the tap water in their own homes because it was unsafe. This is something no family should have to go through, and this bill will allow federal agencies to better prepare and prevent future disasters like the one we experienced in Toledo,” Portman stated. “By establishing a strategic plan to ward off algae, this is an important victory in our efforts to protect Ohioans and keep our drinking water safe.”

“Cities and towns across Ohio need to have the best, most up-to date information on how to keep their drinking water safe,” said Brown. “By targeting harmful algal blooms, we can ensure that communities are prepared to deal with threats to their drinking water systems. This legislation is part of our ongoing efforts to clean up and protect Lake Erie for future generations.”

“The health of Ohio’s bodies of water is vital to our region, as millions of people rely on them for drinking water. This bipartisan legislation is a major step to better understand and further mitigate harmful algal toxins in the drinking water provided by the Great Lakes and surface water,” said Latta. “This legislation – developed through input from the States, as well as academic and scientific communities – will help ensure the protection of public health and safety, and the preservation of one of our greatest national gifts, Lake Erie. I applaud my colleagues for supporting this legislation in its passage in the Senate, and look forward to the President signing this important bill into law.”

Portman urged for passage of the bill on the Senate floor this evening. His remarks can be found here.

This bill is in response to the Toledo water crisis last year which disrupted the water supply of approximately 500,000 people in Northwest Ohio.

 

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