Newly Proposed bill would give grants to test water in rural areas

The bill was introduced Mar. 15 by Senator Tammy Baldwin and Senator Susan Collins
Contaminated water is often not safe to drink
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 4:50 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A new effort to provide clean drinking water to rural Americans was just introduced in Washington. Senators Tammy Baldwin and Susan Collins introduced the Healthy Drinking Water Affordability act last week; it would provide grants for water testing and treatment directly to individuals and non-profits in rural communities.

“If you are able to get a grant, test your water and then you find out there are contaminants, you don’t want to leave people without an ability to secure filtration so they can know their drinking water is safe,” said Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D- Wisconsin)

In Wisconsin, there have been multiple communities dealing with contamination from PFAS, nitrates and arsenic. For nitrates and arsenic, the cost of testing samples range between $20 to $70. For PFAS, testing can cost up to three or four hundred dollars.

“I’ve seen this in a number of communities across the state, where public utility takes over the testing, and also the filtration steps,” said Sen. Baldwin. “In the more rural area, each resident has to tackle it on their own.”

The DNR advises those who have private wells to regularly test them, but those costs are often a barrier for some people.

Sen. Baldwin says she doesn’t want rural Americans to worry about contaminated water coming out of their faucets and is confident this bi-partisan bill can pass congress.