House Approves Bipartisan Bill to Remove Threat to Fire Hydrant Service
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. House of Representatives today approved H.R. 3588, the Community Fire Safety Act, a bill to exempt fire hydrants from being considered a covered product under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Although fire hydrants are not considered a major source of 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. Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) and Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) authored this commonsense legislation to correct the problem and ensure there are no gaps in fire hydrant service. The bill passed with unanimous support by a vote of 384 to 0.
Expressing the urgent need for the legislation, the New York Section American Water Works Association’s Water Utility Council said, "The short, unexpected compliance deadline for fire hydrants could pose serious public safety risks and undue financial burdens if left to stand. Replacing broken or faulty hydrants would likely be problematic."
"There is no scientific data showing health effects from people drinking water from hydrants, but there are documented times when fire fighters have arrived on the emergency scene only to find the hydrant is out of service. This leads to tragedy we can and must avoid," said Johnson. "If shower valves and tub fillers should be exempt, and they are, lets exempt hydrants so that there are no gaps in fire safety."
"H.R. 3588 is a simple, bipartisan bill that provides a straightforward correction to the law. It will save our communities money and time – two very important commodities," said Tonko. "In addition, the bill contains a provision requiring the EPA administrator to consult with the Drinking Water Advisory Council on options for reducing lead in our drinking water in a cost-effective manner. Hopefully, this dialogue will provide more cost-effective options for achieving a worthy goal—cleaner, safer drinking water."
Click HERE to watch Johnson and Tonko urge passage of H.R. 3588.