Johnson and Tonko Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Prevent Interruption of Fire Hydrant Service

November 22, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee members Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) and Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) yesterday introduced H.R. 3588, the Community Fire Safety Act, a bipartisan bill to exempt fire hydrants from an Environmental Protection Agency determination on the regulation of lead in drinking water. The current law could ban the installation of non-compliant hydrants after January 4, 2014, leaving towns and cities no option to replace hydrants in the event of an emergency. The bill recognizes that hydrants are not intended to be a major source of drinking water and addresses this public safety risk by ensuring that legal hydrants will be readily available for installation and replacement.

“I am proud to introduce this commonsense, bipartisan legislation with Representative Tonko that exempts fire hydrants from the Safe Water Drinking Act, just as shower valves already are.  I urge the House and Senate to take quick action on this legislation so that there is no public safety risk in the new year,” said Johnson.

“This bipartisan legislation eliminates an unintended consequence of a recent law enacted to reduce lead in our drinking water.  Without this change, local governments and some manufacturing companies across the nation would have incurred significant costs and delivered none of the law’s intended public health benefits,” said Tonko. “We can all agree that our water supply and public health should be held to the highest standard, but commonsense fixes must always be considered if it looks like resources are going to be wasted. I thank Chairman Upton and Congressman Johnson for their work on this issue, and I look forward to further cooperation down the road.”

To view of copy of the bill, click HERE.