WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Rob Portman (R-OH), and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH-09) introduced legislation to help determine if Ohioans’ drinking water is safe for consumption. The Safe and Secure Drinking Water Act will direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to publish a health advisory and submit reports on what level of microcystins in drinking water is expected to be safe for human consumption.
“American consumers and businesses deserve a safe and reliable water supply,” Brown said. “Our bill will ensure that the United States sets a standard for safe drinking water.”
“After the Toledo water crisis, it’s critical that all levels of government work together to determine if our drinking water is safe for human consumption,” Portman stated. “As we continue to work to ensure that Ohioans have access to safe and clean drinking water, this legislation is an important step toward knowing what is safe and what is not.”
“Our legislation would fill a gap in the EPA’s response to date on toxic algae,” Kaptur said. "The water emergency in Toledo highlighted the need for a more robust federal response, and our local communities still very much need recommendations on consumption, treatment and testing.”
Microcystin is a byproduct of blooming algae in freshwater bodies. Despite requests that state and federal regulators set microcystins limits in drinking water, cities and water plant operators currently rely on the World Health Organization’s suggestion of 1 part per billion or less. The EPA has been working on developing a federal limit for years, but has yet to issue one. This legislation would require them to act on interim measure, an advisory that would help inform and educate local and state officials, as EPA continues to work on a federal mandate.