The Reid-Domenici plan
Passed by the Senate in May, a bill introduced by Senators Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) creates an EPA program to provide federal grants to local governments, tribal communities and water associations that need to comply with the Arsenic in Drinking Water Rule. (The arsenic provisions were added to the Water Investment Act of 2002, a $35 billion measure reauthorizing programs to assist communities in maintaining water and wastewater infrastructure.) The grants could be used to conduct needs assessments, implement compliance projects and fund technical assistance.
If Congress approves the bill, grant applicants would solicit EPA directly, and grants would be awarded based on human health concerns, necessity to ensure compliance with drinking water regulations and financial need. The awards would require 20 percent in non-federal matching funds, but a waiver could be issued for economically deprived communities. The program is authorized at $1 billion annually, from 2003 through 2007.
— Tim Chinn