Vice President Announces New Measures to Provide Safer Drinking Water for 40 Million Americans

March 27, 2000

Washington, D.C. -- Vice President Gore unveiled steps to protect an
additional 40 million Americans from potentially dangerous microbes, including
Cryptosporidium, in their drinking water. A new standard proposed by the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will provide the first-ever protection
against these contaminants for people in small communities. This proposal is
expected to prevent as many as 83,000 cases of waterborne illness each year.

In addition, the Vice President announced how the President's proposed $825
million Safe Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund for fiscal year 2001 would be
allocated among all the states if fully funded by Congress.

"Americans enjoy some of the safest drinking water in the world. Today,
more than 90 percent of the people served by community water systems receive tap
water that meets all federal health standards," Gore said. "I am proud
of this administration's commitment to ensuring that every American receives
safe, healthy drinking water from their tap. I am dedicated to ensuring
that they receive the resources they need to continue to make that happen."

Cryptosporidium, a microscopic parasite found in animal and other organic
wastes, is one of several potentially harmful microbes that can contaminate
drinking water. It is highly resistant to traditional disinfection treatments,
and requires advanced filtration and other processes to be removed from water. A
1993 Cryptosporidium outbreak in Milwaukee sickened 400,000 people, hospitalized
more than 4,000, and caused more than 50 deaths among people with weakened
immune systems. Since then, there have been smaller cryptosporidiosis outbreaks
in Nevada, Oregon and Georgia.

In December 1998, President Clinton announced the first public health
standards to remove Cryptosporidium in large water systems that serve 140
million people, to prevent up to 460,000 cases of waterborne illness a year. The
1998 standards strengthened filtration and monitoring requirements to remove
Cryptosporidium and other microbes.

This new proposal would extend these public health protections by requiring
11,500 small water systems serving fewer than 10,000 people each to protect
against Cryptosporidium and will improve treatment processes at water systems of
all sizes. Currently, more than 18 million people are served by these smaller
water systems. To help communities upgrade their water systems, the
administration's FY 2001 budget proposes $825 million for the Safe Drinking
Water Revolving Loan Fund. The fund, created by the Safe Drinking Water Act
amendments signed in 1996 by President Clinton, provides grants to make
low-interest loans to cities to upgrade the nation's drinking water systems.
This initiative maintains that fifteen percent of the loans must go to small
communities.

Since 1996, this revolving loan fund has made almost $3.6 billion available
to water systems around the country, and this month, the EPA will have funded
over 1,000 loans and grants under this program. Vice President Gore's
announcement unveils what the President's proposed $825 million would mean for
every state in the country. (A list of state-by-state allocations appears
below.)

EPA will take public comment for 60 days on the proposals, called the
"Long Term 1 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Proposed Rule" and the
"Filter Backwash Proposed Rule." Additional information on the
proposals can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/safewater or by calling EPA's Safe
Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.

BREAKDOWN OF SAFE DRINKING WATER GRANTS:

Following is a list of the funds that would be allocated under the President's
FY 2001 budget proposal:

State FY01 request

Alabama $9,279,900

Alaska $7,806,300

Arizona $7,955,400

Arkansas $11,106,800

California $84,525,400

Colorado $10,503,400

Connecticut $7,806,300

Delaware $7,806,300

Florida $22,628,500

Georgia $16,720,600

Hawaii $7,806,300

Idaho $7,806,300

Illinois $27,134,300

Indiana $9,523,100

Iowa $12,319,800

Kansas $10,970,800

Kentucky $11,895,400

Louisiana $10,906,300

Maine $7,806,300

Maryland $7,806,300

Massachusetts $30,051,400

Michigan $22,966,700

Minnesota $12,996,600

Mississippi $9,067,300

Missouri $10,496,000

Montana $7,806,300

Nebraska $7,806,300

Nevada $7,806,300

New Hampshire $7,806,300

New Jersey $19,016,600

New Mexico $7,806,300

New York $49,396,100

North Carolina $14,096,400

North Dakota $7,806,300

Ohio $24,999,900

Oklahoma $11,207,700

Oregon $11,584,300

Pennsylvania $24,560,000

Puerto Rico $11,208,500

Rhode Island $7,806,300

South Carolina $8,407,200

South Dakota $7,806,300

Tennessee $10,476,800

Texas $59,210,000

Utah $7,806,300

Vermont $7,806,300

Virginia $15,231,900

Washington $21,013,000

West Virginia $7,806,300

Wisconsin $10,466,800

Wyoming $7,806,300

D.C. $7,806,300

Territories $2,576,100

Tribal $12,375,000

Unregulated Contaminants $2,000,000

Operator Certification $30,000,000

SOURCE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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