Before 1974, there were no federal standards protecting public drinking water, including groundwater. In the early 1970’s, the EPA documented that over 700 contaminants had been found in our public water supplies, and that drinking water was periodically contaminated by synthetic chemicals. The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), signed into law by Gerald Ford in 1974, set federal standards for the quality of drinking water, and placed the Environmental Protection Agency in charge of implementing technology that would insure the safety of the water we drink. These federal standards were to include limits for contaminants that had been found in public water supplies.
The Safe Water Drinking Act has been amended several times, most significantly in 1986. The scope of the law was significantly expanded at that time and the EPA was given the authority to strictly enforce the new standards. By 1986, regulations for only 22 of the 700 contaminants had been issued by the EPA; the 1986 amendment required that 83 specific contaminants be regulated by1989, with new contaminants added to the list to be regulated every year. The 1986 amendment strengthened the enforcement authority of the EPA—if a state or locality did not comply with the standards, the EPA now had the authority to enforce them.
The Safe Water Drinking Act has been waived by the Depart of Homeland Security in order to expedite the building of a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico. Why was this law waived? If drinking water would be protected during the construction of the wall, there would be no need to waive this law. Waiving the SWDA means that DHS does not have to comply with the federal standards that prevent the contamination of our drinking water. Residents who live in the vicinity of the proposed construction can no longer be confident that the water they drink is safe. Click here for a list of all 48 federal laws that have been waived for construction of a border wall.
Please contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives (https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members) and let them know that you oppose waiving The Safe Drinking Water Act to expedite construction of a border wall. Click here if you would like to make a donation to help us fight the border wall.