Senator Portantino’s Drinking Water Protection Bill Headed to Governor’s Desk

Tuesday, August 30 2022

For Immediate Release: August 30, 2022

Contact: Lerna Shirinian, (818) 409-0400


Senator Portantino’s Drinking Water Protection Bill Headed to Governor’s Desk


Sacramento, CA – Senate Bill 230, an environmental protection measure authored by Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – Burbank) to improve drinking water by investigating Constituents of Emerging Concern (CECs), is headed to the Governor’s desk for signature. 

“SB 230 is designed to improve consumer protection by helping the State Water Board gather information to understand the public health risk of contaminants in drinking water,” stated Senator Portantino.  “Garnering this information is critical in order to implement best environmental practices and strategies. I look forward to the Governor’s signature.”

Constituents of Emerging Concern are a diverse group of synthetic or naturally occurring chemicals or microorganisms that are not currently regulated in drinking water.  In recent years, scientists have discovered new ways to detect CECs in very small amounts.  Given this capability, researchers will continue to detect new, unregulated CECs that could include pharmaceuticals, personal care products, or industrial chemicals in trace amounts. 

SB 230 requires the State Water Board to establish and maintain a dedicated program for CECs to proactively improve the understanding of their occurrence and public health significance in drinking water sources.  In addition, the State Board could create a Science Advisory Panel for a period of three years to gather and develop information for the program and provide a report to the Legislature on the work of the panel by June 1, 2026.  The bill requires the program to provide opportunities for public participation through periodic stakeholder meetings and workshops.  After five years, the state board would decide whether to sunset or continue the program.

Senate Bill 230 builds on Senator Portantino’s strong record of protecting our water supply.  Previously, he authored legislation to require the study of micro plastics in drinking water and to task the California Ocean Protection Council to develop strategies to preserve and protect our precious ocean resources. 

“As public concern grows about the potential health risks of CECs in drinking water, SB 230 will help build a comprehensive body of knowledge regarding their occurrence and threats to public health, allowing regulators to prioritize action on the most critical CECs,” Metropolitan Water District General Manager Adel Hagekhalil said.  “I am grateful to Senator Portantino and the Legislature for their leadership on measures to protect water quality and urge the Governor to sign the bill.”

SB 230 would also establish in the State Treasury the CEC Action Fund, which upon appropriation would be administered by the State Water Board. Monies in the fund could be used to establish and maintain the panel, collect occurrence data, develop standardized analytical methods to detect CECs, and support research to fill information gaps.  In addition, the bill authorizes the Board, upon appropriation to provide financial assistance to certain public water systems upon a showing that the costs of testing drinking water in compliance with this act would impose a financial hardship, with eligibility preference given to public water systems serving fewer than 10,000 individuals.

“CMUA is grateful to the Legislature for passing this important measure, which will further the state’s efforts on CECs with a focus on drinking water.  SB 230 will improve our knowledge of these contaminants and allow for informed, science-based decisions about how to prioritize them for regulation.  We appreciate Senator Portantino championing this issue and urge the Governor to sign SB 230 into law,” stated Danielle Blacet-Hyden, Deputy Executive Director of the California Municipal Utilities Association.

Metropolitan Water District and California Municipal Utilities Association are sponsors of SB 230.