Healthy Drinking Water Affordability Act (Healthy H2O Act)

The Healthy Drinking Water Affordability Act, also known as the Healthy H2O Act, is being considered in both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced the Healthy H2O Act in the Senate on April 26, 2022. The bill, which would provide grants for water testing and the purchase of certified treatment technology directly to individuals, non-profits and local governments in rural communities, came from an initiative formerly called Clean Water For All that was developed by a WQA task force.

“We applaud Senator Baldwin for introducing The Healthy H2O Act to get effective water treatment technology directly to the people who need it most,” said WQA Executive Director Pauli Undesser, MWS, ACE“Point-of-use and point-of-entry filtration can be especially helpful to rural areas whose households rely primarily on private wells, might need help dealing with newly discovered contaminants in their communities, and have often been overlooked by recent federal investments.”

The House bill was introduced on June 9, 2022, by U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and David Rouzer (R-N.C.). The House version is mostly identical; however, it expands eligible rural communities for this grant to those with up to 10,000 in population, an increase from the USDA regulation default of 2,500.

The bill is supported by more than 20 other associations in addition to WQA.
 


The complete text of the Senate bill can be found here.  A one-page summary of the Senate bill is here.

The complete text of the House bill can be found here.

Sen. Baldwin's news release announcing the bill's introduction in the Senate can be found here.

Rep. Pingree's office issued a news release when the bill was introduced in the House. Rep. Rouzer's release is here.

WQA's news releases:


Background

The Clean Water for All initiative was developed by a WQA task force, to empower Americans to significantly reduce or remove unwanted contaminants found in their drinking water. The task force chair, Josh Greene – A.O Smith, has been leading the charge in creating federal legislation to enable funding of eligible consumers to defray the cost to purchase and install certified point-of-use (POU) and point-of-entry (POE) water treatment systems in households that are reliant on well-water.

Language for the legislation was drafted with the office of Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).

WQA Past President Toby Thomas explained the Clean Water for All initiative in this video:

POEs/POUs Technologies.
Water Treatment for Dummies
POU Overview
POE Overview
Factsheet on Granular Activated Carbon
Factsheet on Ion Exchange
Factsheet on Reverse Osmosis (RO)
Factsheet on Ultraviolet UV light

Performance & Reliability.
Product Certification
Webinar on Product Certification Process
Find Certified Products by American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Accredited Certification Bodies:


Affordability.
Cost Benefits of Point-of-Use Devices in Reduction of Health Risks

Potential Health Effects from Common Drinking Water Contaminants.

Lead

Potential Health Effects

Children are more at risk than adults
Reduced intelligence, impaired hearing and decreased growth in children
Damage to the brain, kidneys, and bone marrow
Damage to the nervous system and red blood cells

Testing/Certification Standards NSF/ANSI 53 (filters) or NSF/ANSI 58 (RO systems)
Additional References

Arsenic

Potential Health Effects

Serious skin problems, endocrine disruptor
Cancer – skin, bladder, lung, kidney, liver, prostate
Harms cardiovascular & nervous systems

Testing/Certification Standards NSF/ANSI 53 (filters) or NSF/ANSI 58 (RO systems)
Additional References CDC on Arsenic

Nitrate/Nitrite

Potential Health Effects
Methemoglobinemia (blue baby syndrome)

Most potential health effects are seen in infants under the age of 6 months

Testing/Certification Standards NSF/ANSI 58 (RO systems)
Additional References

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Potential Health Effects
Some VOCs are carcinogens and/or may adversely affect the liver, kidneys, spleen, and stomach, as well as the nervous, circulatory, reproductive, immune, cardiovascular, and respiratory system

Some VOCs may affect cognitive abilities, balance, and coordination, and some are eye, skin, and/or throat irritants

Testing/Certification Standards NSF/ANSI 53 (filters) or NSF/ANSI 58 (RO systems)
Additional References ATSDR on VOCs
EPA on VOCs
NIH on VOCs

Perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA)

Potential Health Effects Low infant birth weight
Decreased fertility
Elevated cholesterol
Abnormal thyroid hormone levels
Liver inflammation
Weakening of the immune system
Cancer – testicular, kidney
*risks associated with many PFASs are largely unknown
Testing/Certification Standards NSF/ANSI 53 (filters) or NSF/ANSI 58 (RO systems)
Additional References

EPA on PFOA/PFOS
CDC on PFOA
CDC on PFAS
California Water Board on PFOA/PFOS
Minnesota DOH on PFAS
WQA Page on PFAS

Hexavalent Chromium (Chrome-6)

Potential Health Effects

Nausea, gastrointestinal distress, stomach ulcers, skin ulcers, allergic reactions
Kidney and liver damage
Reproductive problems
Lung and nasal cancer

Testing/Certification Standards NSF/ANSI 53 (filters) or NSF/ANSI 58 (RO systems)
Additional References

​​NIH on Chrome-6
EPA on Chromium
WHO on Chromium
ATSDR on Chromium
WQA Chromium Factsheet

Microorganisms (including Bacteria, Viruses, & Cysts)

Potential Health Effects  
Bacteria (Ex. coliform bacteria; E.coli) Diarrhea, vomiting, cramps, nausea, headaches, fever, fatigue, and even death sometimes
Infants, children, elderly people, and people with weakened immune systems are more risk
Viruses (Ex. enterovirus, hepatitis A, norovirus rotavirus) Gastrointestinal illness (for example, diarrhea, vomiting, cramps), hepatitis, meningitis
Cysts (Ex. giardia; cryptosporidium) The most common types of parasites found in waterborne cysts are giardia and cryptosporidium
Intestinal issues including diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting
Testing/Certification Standards NSF/ANSI 53 (filters) or NSF/ANSI 58 (RO systems); NSF Protocol P231
Additional References

Contaminant Occurrence Across the United States. This is not a complete list of contaminants.

WQRF Contaminant Occurrence Map

Lead
Lead 2015 violations (NRDC)

Arsenic
Arsenic & Wells (USGS)
Arsenic & Drinking Water (USGS)
Arsenic in ground water (USGS)
Arsenic in ground water samples (USGS)

Nitrate/Nitrite
Nitrate in ground water (USGS)

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
VOCs in ground water samples (USGS)
VOCs in ground water (USGS)

Perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA)
PFAS Map (EWG & SSEHRI)
PFAS Map using UCMR
PFAS Contaminant Site Tracker (SSEHRI)
States with Numerical PFAS Limits (PFAS Project)

Hexavalent Chromium (Chrome-6)
Chrome-6 reporting from UCMR3 (Cr(VI) Mode of Action (MOA) research studies)
Chrome-6 map (EWG)