Shimkus touts new law assisting small, rural drinking water systems

U.S. Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) announced a new law on Wednesday authorizing $15 million per year through 2020 for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) technical assistance program for small, rural drinking water systems.

The new law also requires the EPA to target the training and technical assistance funds appropriated by Congress for the programs that will be most beneficial to small and rural communities.

“A major source of financial stress for small and rural drinking water supply systems is compliance with EPA regulations,” Shimkus said. “These communities need access to technical professionals to help find the most cost-effective way to identify repair and replacement options for their systems, and to comply with EPA standards.”

Illinois Rural Water Association (IRWA) Executive Director Frank Dunmire joined Shimkus in announcing the new legislation. More than 800 small communities, water districts and co-ops in the state of Illinois are represented by the IRWA.

“Almost all of the more than 3,500 community water supplies in Illinois are dependent on on-site technical assistance and training while they struggle with complying with the ever-growing list of EPA regulations,” Dunmire said. “It is through this training and on-site assistance that many communities avoid violations and/or hefty fines.

“Illinois, and the country as a whole, are fortunate to have John chairing a committee that can ensure that small community water supplies have the needed tools to provide safe drinking water.”

Shimkus, the chairman of the Environment and Economy Subcommittee, led passage of the rural water bill in November.

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