July 13, 2017

Continuing Her Work to Prevent Lead Contamination, Duckworth Cohosts Roundtable on Drinking Water Infrastructure


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), the top Democrat on the Senate Fisheries, Wildlife and Water Subcommittee, cohosted a roundtable discussion on the threat of lead contamination in our nation's drinking water. Duckworth stressed the importance of modernizing America's water infrastructure to help ensure Americans in rural, suburban and metropolitan communities alike have access to clean and safe drinking water. A photo of today's roundtable is available here.

"When families send their children to school or turn on their faucet at home, they should not have to worry about their drinking water being contaminated with a dangerous neurotoxin like lead," Duckworth said. "The threat of contaminated water is a national public health crisis in cities across the nation, including Chicago, Carbondale, Galesburg and East St. Louis, Illinois. Today's discussion reaffirmed the need for improved drinking water infrastructure across the country, and I will keep working to ensure every family in America - no matter where they live - has access to clean and safe drinking water."

Senator Duckworth has also been outspoken about the need to address failures in our public water systems and has introduced several pieces of legislation on lead in America's drinking water. Just last month, Duckworth reintroduced the Get the Lead Out of Schools Act of 2017 with U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) to help ensure drinking water in schools across our nation is clean and safe from lead. She also introduced her new Recognizing the Environmental Gains in Overcoming Negligence (REGION) Act to prevent the closure of regional Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offices, which would protect thousands of jobs while supporting efforts to ensure clean drinking water for children. Duckworth has also been critical of the Trump Administration's efforts to roll back drinking water protections and vocal about the need to strengthen initiatives to prevent lead contamination.

"New infrastructure alone isn't going to get us the reliable, safe and lead-free water that we want," said Elin Betanzo, water engineer and founder of Safe Water Engineering. "We also need stronger, more effective drinking water regulations as well as investment in the people who operate water utilities and the people who oversee our drinking water programs."

Last year, Duckworth introduced two pieces of legislation to address the nationwide contaminated drinking water crisis, including the Copper and Lead Evaluation, Assessment and Reporting (CLEAR) Act of 2016 and the Get the Lead Out Act of 2016. The bills would improve water testing to keep potential contaminants like lead and copper out of public water supplies and provide resources to help communities remove contaminants that may already be present.

Additional participants at today's roundtable discussion included:

· U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), ranking member, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
· U.S. Senator Stabenow (D-MI), ranking member, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
· U.S. Senator Booker (D-NJ)
· U.S. Senator Cardin (D-MD), ranking member, EPW Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure
· Elin Betanzo, Safe Water Engineering
· Mary Beth Haller, Esq. Bureau of Environmental Health, Baltimore City Health Department, Assistant Commissioner
· Chris Sturm, Managing Director, Policy and Water, New Jersey Future
· Dr. Marc Edwards, Virginia Tech
· Joaquin Esquivel, California State Water Resources Control Board