Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) were signed into law by President Bill Clinton on August 6, 1996. The 1996 Amendments are summarized below:
- Consumer Confidence Reports: Community water systems are required to prepare and distribute annual reports about provided water.
- Cost-Benefit Analysis: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must conduct a cost-benefit analysis for every new standard. A cost-benefit analysis helps to determine whether the benefits of a drinking water standard justify the associated costs.
- Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. States can use the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to make infrastructure or management improvements to drinking water systems or to help systems assess and protect their source water.
- Microbial Contaminants and Disinfection Byproducts: The EPA is required to strengthen protection for microbial contaminants, including cryptosporidium. The EPA is also required to strengthen control over the byproducts of chemical disinfection.
- Operator Certification: Water system operators are required to be certified.
- Public Information and Consultation: The EPA was required to improve public outreach and education. The EPA distributed public information materials and held public meetings with various stakeholders to encourage public involvement.
- Small Water Systems: Small water systems are to be given special consideration and resources.