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The Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1986: Now a Tougher Act to Follow

November 1986

Citation: 16 ELR 10338

Issue: 11

Author: Kenneth F. Gray

Editors' Summary: On June 19, 1986, President Reagan signed the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1986 into law. Among the many changes made by the Amendments, three stand out. First, EPA must issue drinking water standards for a significantly increased number of contaminants. Second, the Amendments strengthen the Act's enforcement provisions by giving EPA authority to issue administrative orders and by the addition of language providing that EPA "shall" take enforcement action in certain situations. Third, the Amendments establish two new groundwater protection programs. The author reviews these changes and some of the issues that EPA will face in implementing the Amendments, and concludes that the Safe Drinking Water Act will assume a more prominent role among the environmental protection statutes.

Mr. Gray is an attorney in the Washington, D.C., office of Hunton & Williams. From July 1983 to September 1986, he worked for the Office of General Counsel at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where he counseled the Agency on Safe Drinking Water Act matters. The views are solely those of the author.

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