The House is expected to take action Wednesday to address a major water pollution problem that is disrupting one of the nation’s most important industries: cementing.
The Senate is expected later this month to pass legislation to address the issue.
The problem is affecting many Americans who rely on cementing for building and other materials, according to a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The water pollution is affecting millions of residents, who are not only at risk of getting sick from exposure, but also have the chance to be fined for failing to comply with federal laws, including the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act.
The NRDC report, titled The Water Pollution That Has Already Killed Our Communities, said more than 3.3 million people are affected by the problem and nearly 2 million are being treated each day.
In the past, the EPA and other water agencies have said they are taking steps to prevent the problem, but the NRDC says that has not been the case.
“It is not just water pollution; it is also air pollution, and that is why we need the federal government to take concrete washing seriously,” said Kristen K. Gagnon, NRDC senior vice president for water and the environment.
The report said that the amount of concrete being washed is “inconceivable.”
According to the NRSC report, the average number of days of water usage by residents was 590 gallons per day in 2016.
That compares with a total of 727.2 gallons per week in 2017.
The EPA estimates that if all Americans followed the water standards, the pollution would be cut by nearly 40 percent.
The U.S. has the highest rate of drinking water contamination in the world, according the Environmental Protection Agency.
The pollution is linked to high levels of contaminants in drinking water and chemicals used in cement production.
The Environmental Protection Office said in 2017 that the number of cases of acute water poisoning in the U.K. has increased from 1,945 in the previous year to 674 in 2017, according Reuters.
“The water crisis in the United States is a crisis of the health system, not the environment,” Gagnonsaid in a statement.
“In many cases, these incidents involve children, who have not been adequately cared for and who have a much higher risk of suffering from long-term health impacts than adults.”
She said that while there is no direct link between concrete washing and the contamination of drinking and drinking-water supplies, “the potential for the chemical-laden runoff to leach into drinking water sources has been widely acknowledged.”
Gagnoni said that she was “heartened” by the number that have signed up for concrete washing.
“I am thrilled that more and more people are willing to take the step to take water away from the polluted sources that are causing the problem,” she said.
“If we all do our part, we can finally end this crisis.”