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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 5, 2004

Blagojevich signs legislation to make bottled water safer

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.  –  In an effort to ensure that the bottled water that Illinoisans are drinking is safe, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation giving the state more regulatory authority over water bottling plants and private water source operators.
           
“People should not have to worry about the quality or the safety of the water they drink,” Blagojevich said. “This new law provides for more oversight of businesses that produce bottled water and will help ensure that the water sold in Illinois is safe.” 
 
Senate Bill 3112 authorizes the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to issue permits to bottled water plants and private water source operators, to adopt federal regulations pertinent to these establishments, to conduct annual inspections and to perform other regulatory functions necessary to assure safe bottled water. 
 
The new law also requires the registration of water bottling plants located outside of Illinois that do business within the state and gives IDPH the authority to embargo bottled water produced by unlicensed or unregistered establishments.
 
Permits will cost $150 and the money will be deposited into a special fund to be used to administer the program.  Businesses that receive a permit must meet standards for good manufacturing practices, water source, water quality and labeling.
 
Water bottlers are not currently licensed and only inspected on an irregular basis.  Without the authority to license these facilities, the state had no way of knowing whether all water bottlers had been identified and inspected.
 
“The law provides the state with the means to identify and monitor water bottling businesses,” said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director.  “Without a complete listing of water bottling facilities, the Department has not been able to adequately inspect for compliance with water safety regulations or locate these facilities if there is a need to recall the water.  This is a crucial step in ensuring the regulations for these operations are being met and that water safety and quality standards are routinely evaluated.”
 
The legislation was sponsored by state Sen. Susan Garrett, D-Lake Forest, and state Rep. Harry Osterman, D-Chicago. 
 
“This is an important measure that will help ensure that bottled water consumed by Illinois residents is clean and healthy, and businesses that sell or produce bottled water are regulated to meet the standards of the Illinois Department of Public Health,” said Representative Osterman.
 
SB 3112 becomes effective Jan. 1, 2005.


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