One-Size-Fits-All Approach to Water Supplier Requirements Opposed by Counties

On February 23, 2023, Associate Policy Director Dominic Butchko testified before the Senate Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee in opposition to SB 531 – Public Water Systems – Supplier Requirements (Water Safety and Cybersecurity Act of 2023).

This bill principally requires all operators of public water supply systems in the State to conform to a strict regime of reporting, plan development, and testing requirements related to status of certain valves. Water supply systems in Maryland range widely in scope of service—some serve dozens, while others serve many thousands of residents. SB 531 prescribes a one-size-fits-all approach to the upkeep and management of these water supply systems, without regard for the potential redunancy of the new procedures, and without regard for the undue financial burden many smaller systems will be forced to take on in order to comply.

From the MACo Testimony:

Large government-operated water supply systems typically have appropriate plans and procedures. These plans may not comply with the precise letter of what is proposed by SB 531, but they do promote transparency and accountability in locally governed water systems for their users. Conforming many fully appropriate oversight and accountability standards would be costly and inefficient and not necessarily yield more positive outcomes.

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