Murray Secures Critical Funding for Clean Drinking Water in Clark County

Jun 09 2005

$500,000 will help construct new water system to bring safe, clean water to county residents

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today announced that she has secured a half million dollars to help Clark Public Utilities to provide safe, clean drinking water to residents of Clark County. The $500,000 that Murray secured as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee will help to construct a new satellite water system for residents in northern Clark County who have been impacted by arsenic contamination in private wells.

“These funds will help to provide clean, affordable drinking water to the residents of Clark County,” Senator Murray said. “Residents of Clark County should not have to fear dangerous levels of arsenic in their water. I am pleased to be able to help the Clark Public Utilities protect the health of our residents.”

Recent tests of private wells in areas of northern Clark County have revealed arsenic levels above 500 parts per billion (ppb), which greatly exceed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new drinking water standard of 10ppb. This exposure level is particularly dangerous to children and pregnant women and has been linked to lung, bladder and skin cancer and other health disorders.

Unfortunately, there is no major public water system available to the affected area and no cost-effective way to remove arsenic from the wells at such high levels. The funding secured by Murray will allow for the construction of a new satellite water system to provide affordable drinking water for northern Clark County residents.

“Protecting the health and well-being of residents in Clark County requires a local and federal partnership. I am pleased to have secured a commitment in the Senate to protect this community,” Murray said.

Senator Murray has long been a supporter of clean drinking water and high arsenic standards. In 2001, Murray introduced a bill amendment to provide funds for public water systems to comply with new drinking water standards. The bill was necessary because President Bush had proposed to withdraw the tougher standards on arsenic in public water, citing it was an unfunded mandate on local communities.

The funding passed the Senate Appropriations Committee today and will now go to the full Senate for consideration.