House Passes Bill to Exempt Hydrants from Lead Content Law
Dec 04, 2013
The AWWA is reporting that the U.S. House of Representatives has unanimously passed a bipartisan bill that would exempt fire hydrants from being subject to lead-safety regulations for drinking water that go into effect Jan. 4, 2014.
Cosponsored by Congressmen Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) and Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) and backed by a groundswell of support by AWWA members, the Community Fire Safety Act (HR 3588) emerged in response to a move by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to include hydrants within the scope of the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act. Under that law, it will be illegal in the United States as of Jan. 4, 2014, to use pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings or fixtures that come into contact with drinking water that do not meet a tougher definition of lead free.
“This commonsense legislation eliminates an unintended consequence of a recent law enacted to enhance public health," said Tonko. "No one is getting a steady supply of drinking water from the fire hydrant at the end of their street, so we should not add to the heavy burden our local governments with constrained budgets already experience."
Johnson called the vote “an important step in stopping the EPA from going forward on a costly and potentially dangerous rule that would ban the installation of current fire hydrants after January 4, 2014.”
The bill now goes to the Senate, which is in recess until Dec. 9. The AWWA is urging members to immediately contact their senators to advocate for its passage. The AWWA is hoping the Senate will use existing procedural motions to move the bill quickly, since the law takes effect Jan. 4 and there are only a few legislative days left in the year.
Read complete statements by Rep. Tonko and Rep. Johnson: