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Text of the Grassroots Rural and Small Community Water Systems Assistance Act

This bill was introduced on February 6, 2014, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Apr 1, 2014 (Reported by Senate Committee).

II

Calendar No. 340

113th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 864

[Report No. 113–142]

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 6, 2013

(for himself, Ms. Heitkamp, Mr. Cochran, Mr. Udall of New Mexico, Mr. Crapo, Ms. Klobuchar, Mr. Risch, Mr. Johnson of South Dakota, Mr. Moran, Ms. Landrieu, Mr. Boozman, Mr. Tester, Mr. Inhofe, Ms. Hirono, Mr. Baucus, Mr. Vitter, Mr. Levin, and Mr. Schatz) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works

April 1, 2014

Reported by , with an amendment

Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert the part printed in italic

A BILL

To amend the Safe Drinking Water Act to reauthorize technical assistance to small public water systems, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Grassroots Rural and Small Community Water Systems Assistance Act .

2.

Findings

Congress finds that—

(1)

the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996 (Public Law 104–182) authorized technical assistance for small and rural communities to assist those communities in complying with regulations promulgated pursuant to the Safe Drinking Water Act (42 U.S.C. 300f et seq.);

(2)

technical assistance and compliance training—

(A)

ensures that Federal regulations do not overwhelm the resources of small and rural communities; and

(B)

provides small and rural communities lacking technical resources with the necessary skills to improve and protect water resources;

(3)

across the United States, more than 90 percent of the community water systems serve a population of less than 10,000 individuals;

(4)

small and rural communities have the greatest difficulty providing safe, affordable public drinking water and wastewater services due to limited economies of scale and lack of technical expertise; and

(5)

in addition to being the main source of compliance assistance, small and rural water technical assistance has been the main source of emergency response assistance in small and rural communities.

3.

Sense of Congress

It is the sense of Congress that—

(1)

to most effectively assist small and rural communities, the Environmental Protection Agency should prioritize the types of technical assistance that are most beneficial to those communities, based on input from those communities; and

(2)

local support is the key to making Federal assistance initiatives work in small and rural communities to the maximum benefit.

4.

Funding priorities

Section 1442(e) of the Safe Drinking Water Act (42 U.S.C. 300j–1(e)) is amended—

(1)

by designating the first through seventh sentences as paragraphs (1) through (7), respectively;

(2)

in paragraph (5) (as so designated), by striking 1997 through 2003 and inserting 2014 through 2019; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following:

(8)

Nonprofit organizations

(A)

In general

The Administrator may use amounts made available to carry out this section to provide technical assistance to nonprofit organizations that provide to small public water systems onsite technical assistance, circuit-rider technical assistance programs, onsite and regional training, assistance with implementing source water protection plans, and assistance with implementation monitoring plans, rules, regulations, and water security enhancements.

(B)

Preference

To ensure that technical assistance funding is used in a manner that is most beneficial to the small and rural communities of a State, the Administrator shall give preference under this paragraph to nonprofit organizations that, as determined by the Administrator, are the most qualified and experienced and that the small community water systems in that State find to be the most beneficial and effective.

.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Grassroots Rural and Small Community Water Systems Assistance Act .

2.

Findings

Congress finds that—

(1)

the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996 ( Public Law 104–182 ) authorized technical assistance for small and rural communities to assist those communities in complying with regulations promulgated pursuant to the Safe Drinking Water Act ( 42 U.S.C. 300f et seq.);

(2)

technical assistance and compliance training—

(A)

ensures that Federal regulations do not overwhelm the resources of small and rural communities; and

(B)

provides small and rural communities lacking technical resources with the necessary skills to improve and protect water resources;

(3)

across the United States, more than 90 percent of the community water systems serve a population of less than 10,000 individuals;

(4)

small and rural communities have the greatest difficulty providing safe, affordable public drinking water and wastewater services due to limited economies of scale and lack of technical expertise; and

(5)

in addition to being the main source of compliance assistance, small and rural water technical assistance has been the main source of emergency response assistance in small and rural communities.

3.

Sense of Congress

It is the sense of Congress that—

(1)

to most effectively assist small and rural communities, the Environmental Protection Agency should prioritize the types of technical assistance that are most beneficial to those communities, based on input from those communities; and

(2)

local support is the key to making Federal assistance initiatives work in small and rural communities to the maximum benefit.

4.

Funding priorities

Section 1442(e) of the Safe Drinking Water Act ( 42 U.S.C. 300j–1(e) ) is amended—

(1)

by designating the first through seventh sentences as paragraphs (1) through (7), respectively;

(2)

in paragraph (5) (as so designated), by striking 1997 through 2003 and inserting 2014 through 2019; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following:

(8)

Nonprofit organizations

(A)

In general

The Administrator may use amounts made available to carry out this section to provide grants or cooperative agreements to nonprofit organizations that provide to small public water systems onsite technical assistance, circuit-rider technical assistance programs, multistate, regional technical assistance programs, onsite and regional training, assistance with implementing source water protection plans, and assistance with implementing monitoring plans, rules, regulations, and water security enhancements.

(B)

Preference

To ensure that technical assistance funding is used in a manner that is most beneficial to the small and rural communities of a State, the Administrator shall give preference under this paragraph to nonprofit organizations that, as determined by the Administrator, are the most qualified and experienced in providing training and technical assistance to small public water systems and that the small community water systems in that State find to be the most beneficial and effective.

(C)

Limitation

No grant or cooperative agreement provided or otherwise made available under this section may be used for litigation pursuant to section 1449.

.

April 1, 2014

Reported with an amendment