BEM 0331 UNIT VIII Article Critique

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UNIT VIII RESEARCH PAPER

COLUMBIA SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY

Introduction

I decided to write my research paper on the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The Safe Drinking Water Act is the federal law that protect public drinking water supplies throughout the nation (Safe drinking water act, n.d. epa.gov). Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, Environmental Protection Agency sets standards for drinking water quality, and with its partners implements various technical and financial programs to ensure drinking water safety (Safe drinking water act, n.d. epa.gov). The Safe Drinking Water Act became law in 1974, amended in 1986, and was amended again in 1996 (Safe drinking water act, n.d. waterencyclopedia.com). The Safe Drinking Water Act authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency to set national standards for drinking water to protect against health effects from exposure to naturally-occurring and man-made contaminants (Background on drinking water standards in the safe drinking water act, n.d. epa.gov).

Why was the law enacted?

The Safe Drinking Water Act was enacted to protect the safety of public drinking water (Safe drinking water act, n.d. charlestonwater.com). The Safe Drinking Water Act was enacted as a result of a federal survey of large and small public drinking-water systems that revealed poor water quality was endangering public health (Safe drinking water act, n.d. environmentallaw.uslegal.com). The Safe Drinking Water Act regulates the type and level of contaminants in drinking water and controls the pollution of groundwater sources, which is not covered by the Clean Water Act because the Clean Water Act only applies to surface water (Safe drinking water act, n.d. charlestonwater.com). Under the Safe Drinking Water Act the Environmental Protection Agency has set national primary drinking water regulations, which include maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for tap water (Safe drinking water act, n.d. charlestonwater.com). Water systems must be tested for contaminants, and if necessary, the water must be treated to reduce contaminants to the maximum contaminant levels set for each contaminant (Safe drinking water act, n.d. environmentallaw.uslegal.com).

Controversies pertaining to the Safe Drinking Water Act

Most Americans care more about clean water than clean air and clean soil according to one Gallup poll (Atkin, E. (2015, Sep). Why the EPA’s clean drinking water rule is so controversial, thinkprogress.org). Americans also care more about drinking water than clean rivers and lakes. Then why would there so much opposition to the clean drinking water rule? The Waters of the United States rule or WOTUS protects 2 million miles of streams and 20 million acres of wetlands that provide drinking water. One-third of Americans get their drinking water from sources connected to those streams and wetlands (Atkin, E. (2015, Sep). Why the EPA’s clean drinking water rule is so controversial, thinkprogress.org). The rule has met great opposition from groups in the fossil fuel industry, farmers, small business groups, and real estate developers. The rule give the federal government too much control over the smallest bodies of water and they have the potential to get sued for diverting small streams and filling in wetlands for buildings (Atkin, E. (2015, Sep). Why the EPA’s clean drinking water rule is so controversial, thinkprogress.org). Many industries believe the rule hinders their capabilities to grow their businesses. The people who support WOTUS are the people who love clean water such as outdoor enthusiasts (Atkin, E. (2015, Sep). Why the EPA’s clean drinking water rule is so controversial, thinkprogress.org).

How the act has affected me

The Safe Drinking Water Act has implemented rules and regulations that help keep our drinking water safe from contaminants. Water containing unhealthy contaminants can make people sick and even cause long term health effects. Because of the Safe Drinking Water Act I am able to drink water from a tap with confidence that I am not being exposed to high levels of unhealthy contaminants. I also get annual updates from my local water supplier on the quality of water that they are providing to me and others in my community. The Safe Drinking Water Act will regulate what goes into the water in order to preserve our water resources and keep providing clean drinking water to the people of the United States in the future. The Safe Drinking Water Act has taught me to ensure the streams and wetlands in my community are kept clean. I will do my part to teach my kids the same lesson that I have learned in order to keep our drinking water clean from contaminants.

Lawsuit related to the Safe Drinking Water Act

There is a drinking water crisis that has been going on in Flint Michigan for many years and in 2016 a coalition of activist organizations filed a complaint in federal court against the Michigan government alleging that the state violated the Safe Drinking Water Act (Calfas, J. (2016). The water in Flint Michigan was contaminated with lead. New federal lawsuit alleges state violated Safe Drinking Water Act in Flint, michiganradio.org). The case alleged that the state and City of Flint repeatedly violated federal laws regarding water contamination and failed to ensure there was safe drinking water for the public (Calfas, J. (2016). New federal lawsuit alleges state violated Safe Drinking Water Act in Flint, michiganradio.org). The complaint accused the city of not properly treating water to control for corrosion, not properly monitoring Flint resident’s drinking water, not creating public notifications of tab monitoring results, and not meeting reporting requirements for the water system to send results to the state (Calfas, J. (2016). New federal lawsuit alleges state violated Safe Drinking Water Act in Flint, michiganradio.org). The Environmental Protection Agency ruled that the State of Michigan and the City of Flint’s responses to the drinking water crisis in Flint had been inadequate to protect public health. They also had serious, ongoing concerns with delays, lack of adequate transparency and capacity to safely manage the drinking water system (Calfas, J. (2016). New federal lawsuit alleges state violated Safe Drinking Water Act in Flint, michiganradio.org). At the time this lawsuit was filed there were at least three other cases filed over the Flint water crisis (Calfas, J. (2016). New federal lawsuit alleges state violated Safe Drinking Water Act in Flint, michiganradio.org).

How the Safe Drinking Water Act affected the economy

The Environmental Protection Agency implemented rules to the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1996 that were very cost-significant. The seven major rules that were promulgated through early 2004 amounted to approximately 7.7 billion dollars in capital outlays and 1.8 billion dollars in annual costs. These estimates are based on the Environmental Protection Agency’s published estimates (Safe drinking water act: costs of compliance, (2004) mercatus working paper, mercatus.org). The Safe Drinking Water Act is very strenuous on water producers and requires personnel to perform many tasks due to the Safe Drinking Water Act. This adds more jobs to water producer, which cost the company more money. The jobs required to test the water are normally more technical jobs that may require a degree and may possibly be a higher paying job. Normally the more it costs the producer, the more it will cost the consumer. The Safe Drinking Water Act drives up the cost of real estate because in order to build an owner must adhere to the Safe Drinking Water Act land regulations. This means they must hire environmental personnel to determine things needed to be done in order to start construction. As the Safe Drinking Water Act laws become more stringent, it will cost more to adhere to those laws.

How the Safe Drinking Water Act impacts the environment

The Safe Drinking Water Act has a positive impact on the environment. It does not allow people to destroy streams and wetlands without acquiring a permit from the Environmental Protection Agency. Forcing people to acquire a permit prior to destroying streams and wetland by building a new structure on the land acts as deterrent to builders. The Safe Drinking Water Act provides the people of the United States with healthy drinking water. The Safe Drinking Water Act protects wetlands and streams from contamination from runoff and other means of chemical contamination. People and industries that contaminate waterways are heavily fined and could even face prison time for violating the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Safe Drinking Water Act has helped provide cleaner and healthier drinking water for the people of the United States since 1974. Each new amendment in 1986 and 1996 has helped to keep drinking water safe for the consumers. Hopefully, the United States will continue to preserve our wetlands and streams to ensure we are able to continue to have clean and healthy drinking water.

REFERENCES

(Safe drinking water act, n.d. epa.gov). Retrieved from: https://www.epa.gov/sdwa

(Safe drinking water act, n.d. waterencyclopedia.com). Retrieved from: http://www.waterencyclopedia.com/Re-St/Safe-Drinking-Water-Act.html

(Safe drinking water act, n.d. charlestonwater.com). Retrieved from: https://www.charlestonwater.com/275/Safe-Drinking-Water-Act

(Background on drinking water standards in the safe drinking water act, n.d. epa.gov). Retrieved from: https://www.epa.gov/dwstandardsregulations/background-drinking-water-standards-safe-drinking-water-act-sdwa

(Safe drinking water act, n.d. environmentallaw.uslegal.com). Retrieved from: https://environmentallaw.uslegal.com/federal-laws/safe-drinking-water-act/

(Atkin, E. (2015, Sep). Why the EPA’s clean drinking water rule is so controversial, thinkprogress.org). Retrieved from https://thinkprogress.org/why-the-epas-clean-drinking-water-rule-is-so-controversial-f2ecaf949b25/

(Calfas, J. (2016). New federal lawsuit alleges state violated Safe Drinking Water Act in Flint, michiganradio.org). Retrieved from: https://www.michiganradio.org/post/new-federal-lawsuit-alleges-state-violated-safe-drinking-water-act-flint

(Safe drinking water act: costs of compliance, (2004) mercatus working paper, mercatus.org). Retrieved from: https://www.mercatus.org/publication/safe-drinking-water-act-costs-compliance




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