Maryland’s 8th District

For Immediate Release

February 5, 2016

CONTACT:    Ian Jannetta – 202-225-1527

Van Hollen Cosponsors Bill to Quicken EPA Response to Lead in Drinking Water; Reiterates Call for Swift Investigation into Lead Exposure in Maryland

Washington, DC – Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen has cosponsored bipartisan legislation to improve notification and response procedures when concentrations of lead in drinking water are above federal requirements. Just last week, he highlighted the urgent need to get to the bottom of a situation in Maryland in which rental properties across the state were potentially incorrectly certified as lead-free, an investigation that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Maryland Department of the Environment are currently undertaking.

“From Silver Spring to Baltimore to Flint, lead poisoning is the top immediate environmental health threat to our children, and human negligence is putting a tragic number of young people at risk,” said Congressman Van Hollen. “The federal government plays a critical role in protecting our water. The legislation I’ve cosponsored would require the EPA to more quickly notify communities and resolve the causes of dangerous levels of lead in their drinking water.”

Congressman Van Hollen continued, “In Maryland, the EPA must also continue to help the state Department of the Environment to quickly get to the bottom of what led to the issuance of erroneous lead-free certificates for rental properties, potentially putting children at risk. Those responsible for any wrongdoing must be held accountable, and our communities deserve to know what will be done to prevent this from happening again.”

The legislation Congressman Van Hollen introduced, the Safe Drinking Water Act Improved Compliance Awareness Act, will strengthen requirements to have the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) step in to notify the public when concentrations of lead in drinking water are above federal requirements. It requires the EPA to create a strategic plan for handling and improving information flow between water utilities, the states, the EPA, and affected consumers. It also ensures consumer notification when the corrosiveness of water being transported in a lead pipe could leech into public drinking water.

Full text of the legislation is available here.