THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the President
August 11, 1998
SAFE DRINKING WATER FOR AMERICA'S FAMILIES
Today, at a water treatment plant near San Francisco, President Clinton announces a new measure to ensure clean, safe drinking water for America's families. Beginning next year, water utilities must provide regular reports to their customers on the quality of their drinking water. These "consumer confidence" reports will tell families whether their water meets federal health standards --and if not, why not --giving utilities additional incentive to deliver the cleanest water possible. The President also calls on Congress to support his initiatives on clean water, public lands and global warming, and to abandon legislative riders that would weaken environmental protections.
Safeguarding Our Drinking Water. Major reforms of the Safe Drinking Water Act proposed by President Clinton, and passed by Congress in 1996, are strengthening protections for our drinking water supplies. Scientific and regulatory processes are being streamlined to target contaminants that pose the greatest risk, and communities are receiving billions of dollars in low-interest loans to upgrade water systems. The number of Americans receiving water from systems reporting no violations of federal health standards has grown by 10 million since 1993.
Defending Our Communities' Right to Know. One powerful tool against pollution is information --letting people know what's being put in their water and air. The Clinton administration has expanded the number of industries required to report toxic releases, and the number of chemicals that must be disclosed. And many companies are reducing their toxic releases as a result. Today, with a final rule issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, this approach is being extended to drinking water.
Beginning October 1, 1999, some 55,000 water systems serving 240 million Americans will provide "consumer confidence" reports at least once a year. In most systems, the reports must be delivered to each customer, either with the water bill or in a separate mailing, and systems serving over 100,000 people must make them available via the Internet as well. In clear, concise language, the reports will:
- Tell consumers where their water comes from and whether it meets federal drinking water standards.
- Identify potential sources of any contaminants found, and potential health effects if standards are violated.
- Include special health advisories for people with medical conditions such as HIV that weaken their immune systems, making them more vulnerable to certain contaminants.
- Tell consumers where they can go for more information on water quality.
Progress, Not Partisanship, on the Environment. To achieve further progress in protecting our environment, President Clinton calls on Congress to: fully fund his Clean Water Action Plan to help communities finish the job of cleaning our rivers, lakes and coastal waters; release 1998 appropriations through the Land and Water Conservation Fund to preserve 100 natural and historic sites; approve his proposed research and tax incentives to reduce greenhouse gas pollution; and withdraw legislative riders that would pave our parks and refuges, cripple wildlife protections and deny taxpayers a fair return from oil leasing on public lands.
Remarks by President at Safe Drinking Water Event