Friday, October 13, 2006

EPA Issues Final Drinking Water Groundwater Rule

Oct 12: U.S. EPA issued a new rule which they say will provide greater protection to the drinking water of more than 100 million Americans. The rule targets utilities that provide water from underground sources and requires greater vigilance for potential contamination by disease-causing microorganisms. Benjamin Grumbles, assistant administrator for water said, "These first-ever standards will help communities prevent, detect and correct tainted ground water problems so citizens continue to have clean and affordable drinking water." Systems must begin to comply with the new requirements by December 1, 2009.

The risk-targeting strategy incorporated in the rule provides for: regular sanitary surveys of public water systems to look for significant deficiencies in key operational areas; triggered source-water monitoring when a system that does not sufficiently disinfect drinking water identifies a positive sample during its regular monitoring to comply with existing rules; implementation of corrective actions by ground water systems with a significant deficiency or evidence of source water fecal contamination; and compliance monitoring for systems that are sufficiently treating drinking water to ensure effective removal of pathogens. A ground water system is subject to triggered source-water monitoring if its treatment methods don't already remove 99.99 percent of viruses. Contaminants in question are pathogenic viruses -- such as rotavirus, echoviruses, noroviruses -- and pathogenic bacteria, including E. coli, salmonella, and shigella. Utilities will be required to look for and correct deficiencies in their operations to prevent contamination from these pathogens.

Access a release (click here). Access EPA's Groundwater Rule website for links to the prepublication copy of the 287-page final rule, fact sheet, Q&A document, quick reference guide, supporting documents and background (click here). [*Drink]