- What is it?
Originally passed in 1986, the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) is the primary federal drinking water management statute mandating federal standards to protect the country's drinking water. It focuses on treating water, protecting water sources, training key personnel, acquiring funding to improve water systems, and ensuring public awareness. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plays a key role in establishing regulations and guidelines to protect the rivers, lakes, reservoirs, springs and ground water wells that provide the country's drinking water.
- What has the Army done?
Army installations ensure compliance through:
- Contaminant monitoring;
- Maintaining safe, low contaminant levels that are well within SDWA requirements;
- Installing technologies and upgrading water treatment systems to further reduce contaminant levels;
- Implementing water management plans;
- Setting up and maintaining prevention devices to control water flow; and
- Appropriately notifying customers of water quality.
From a security perspective, Army installations are also assessing all community water systems to ensure safety from intentional attacks and natural disasters.
USAEC's role in promoting environmental compliance for the Army in the area of drinking water management includes:
- Reviewing all SDWA rulemakings;
- Preparing Army impact analyses and comments on potential rulemakings;
- Preparing guidance documents including pollution prevention options;
- Performing audits at installations to assist with compliance;
- Developing tools to assist installations in complying with SDWA requirements;
- Working with the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-9 and the U.S. Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM) to develop compliance strategies;
- Aiding in the compilation and evaluation of Army drinking water data and ensuring wise program management to meet environmental requirements;
- Tracking the Army's progress on meeting DoD and Army environmental goals; Supporting installations when requested;
- Working closely with Headquarters Department of the Army (HQDA), Department of Defense (DoD), and EPA in the rulemaking process to ensure that Army activities and drinking water management concerns are considered;
- Representing the Army on DoD committees, along with DCS, G-9.
- Facilitating the Water Community of Practice group within the Army to exchange lessons learned and share information; and
- Supporting the Multi-Service Water Course as an instructor - WENV 541 Water Quality Management Course
- Why is this important?
As an owner and operator of many public water systems, it is a priority for the U.S. Army to comply with all legislation and regulations to provide safe drinking water to its tenants. Since the Army has a myriad of water systems using various water sources and serving populations of all sizes, the majority of drinking water related legislation and regulations have some level of impact on the Army. Although the Army is in the process of privatizing many drinking water systems, some systems will remain under Army control and other SDWA requirements will still apply.
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