EPA Begins Second Drinking Water Needs Survey

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched its second nationwide survey of drinking water system infrastructure needs. EPA is asking utilities across the country how much money they will need to invest over the next 20 years to comply with existing and proposed regulations and to replace aging infrastructure.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched its second nationwide survey of drinking water system infrastructure needs. EPA is asking utilities across the country how much money they will need to invest over the next 20 years to comply with existing and proposed regulations and to replace aging infrastructure.

EPA will gather data through August 1999. The results will be compiled in Report to Congress slated for release in February 2001. The survey results will be used to allot Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) monies to the states.

The Agency will send survey questionnaires to each of the nations approximately 813 large water systems (serving 50,000+ people), 240 medium-sized systems which serve over 40,000 people, and to 2,370 randomly selected medium-sized systems serving 3,301 to 40,000 people. EPA also plans site visits to approximately 600 randomly selected small drinking water systems (serving 25 to 3,300 people each) nationwide to gather data. Systems on American Indian lands and systems that serve significant populations of American Indians and Alaskan Natives also will be included in the project.

Systems will be asked to summarize their current capital improvement needs and their projected capital investment requirements through calendar year 2019. These summaries will include all costs related to compliance with the SDWA. This includes the costs associated with source water treatment, storage, transmission, and distribution.

EPA will analyze the data collected from more than 4,000 drinking water systems across the country to generate state-by-state and nationwide estimates of drinking water investment needs. These estimates, in turn, will be used to apportion DWSRF funds among the States beginning in FY 2002.

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) requires (EPA) to conduct a survey every 4 years to estimate the capital investments that are needed to protect and provide high-quality drinking water now and for the next 20 years.

The first survey, released in early 1997, found that the nations drinking water systems needed to invest $138.4 billion over 20 years to install, upgrade or replace infrastructure. Based in part on those findings, Congress appropriated $1.275 billion in FY 1997, $725 million in FY 1998, and $775 million in FY 1999 for the DWSRF.

For more information about EPAs 1999 DWSRF Needs Survey, call the toll-free Survey Help Line at 1-(877) 996-3337.

Revolving Fund Priorities Listed on EPA Internet Site

The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) program requires that states develop a priority system for funding infrastructure projects based on three criteria from the 1996 Amendments of the Safe Drinking Water Act. The Environmental Protection Agency has compiled the various state priority systems into a report available on the Internet.

Revolving Fund Priorities Listed on EPA Internet Site

The compendium, "Prioritizing Drinking Water Needs: A Compilation of State Priority Systems for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Program," includes a summary of the priority system for each State.

Revolving Fund Priorities Listed on EPA Internet Site

States are required to consider public comment when developing their priority systems. Projects are ranked and funding is offered to the highest ranked projects that are ready to proceed. Priority is given to projects that:

Revolving Fund Priorities Listed on EPA Internet Site

  • address the most serious risk to human health;

Revolving Fund Priorities Listed on EPA Internet Site

  • are necessary to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act; and,

Revolving Fund Priorities Listed on EPA Internet Site

  • assist systems most in need, on a per household basis, according to State-determined affordability criteria.

Revolving Fund Priorities Listed on EPA Internet Site

The compendium can be seen at EPA Office of Groundwater & Drinking Water Internet site: http://www.epa.gov/OGWDW/dwsrf/priority.html.

EPA Awards Improvement Grants

EPA has awarded a $1 million construction grant to help pay for a $1.8 million extension of the Lewistown, PA, drinking water system, which services 400 residents in East Derry Township.

EPA Awards Improvement Grants

EPA has awarded a $1.25 million grant to Wallaceton-Boggs Municipal Authority in Clearfield County, PA, to help pay for a sewer system and wastewater treatment plant for the Borough of Wallaceton and portions of Boggs Township.

EPA Awards Improvement Grants

Lewistown residents will receive water from the public water supply because their well water is contaminated with fecal coliform bacteria and high nitrate levels.

EPA Awards Improvement Grants

"This money should go a long way toward improving the quality of life, through safe drinking water to the residents of East Derry Township," said W. Michael McCabe, EPA Regional Administrator.

EPA Awards Improvement Grants

Wallaceton-Boggs project will serve 400 homes in the most densely populated portion of the township and the Wallaceton-West Decatur area, where the lots are too small to effectively use home septic systems. The discharge of untreated sewage into ditches and streams in the area is causing a public health hazard.

EPA Awards Improvement Grants

The total cost of the project is almost $3.5 million. In addition to the EPA grant, the project will include $1.25 million in state Pennvest loans, which also is 80 percent federally funded. The remaining $1 million will come from tap-in fees and other sources.

Water Supplier Sued

The public drinking water supplier serving the Wilson Hills development in Hawley, Pike Co., PA, was sued on Feb. 17 for chronic violations of state and federal drinking water standards. The approximately 150 Wilson Hill residents have had to boil their water since April 1996, to make it safe to drink.

Water Supplier Sued

The Department of Justice filed the lawsuit in federal court on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency. The complaint was filed against: Tafton Water Co.; Richard M. S. Freeman, Taftons former vice president; and two related companies, Public Water Service Co. and Winton Consolidated Companies Inc.

Water Supplier Sued

The Tafton Water Company supplies approximately 60 homes and businesses with drinking water from a well. EPA issued orders in 1996 and 1997 to Tafton, the Public Service Water Co., and Freeman to comply with drinking water laws. The defendants did not comply. In the summer of 1997, the defendants stopped operating the Tafton water system, forcing its customers to operate the system on their own, or face having no water at all.

Water Supplier Sued

The complaint alleges violations including: not maintaining adequate chlorination; not monitoring drinking water for total coliform bacteria, lead, copper, nitrate, and inorganic, volatile organic, and synthetic organic chemicals. The system also has failed to report monitoring results, provide public notices, and employ a certified operator.

Water Supplier Sued

In addition to civil penalties of up to $27,500 per day, the government seeks an injunction requiring the defendants to properly chlorinate the drinking water in the Tafton system and comply with Safe Drinking Water Act and Pennsylvania water quality monitoring requirements.

Ammonia Cleanup Ordered

EPA Region 5 has issued an emergency administrative order to W.R. Grace & Co. to clean up ammonia threatening an underground source of drinking water for Lansing, MI, and 13 other public systems.

Ammonia Cleanup Ordered

EPA alleges that ammonia has entered the Saginaw Sandstone Aquifer from the Motor Wheel Disposal site in Lansing. The aquifer supplies drinking water to 297,000 people. In the 1960s, W.R. Grace produced fertilizer at a facility uphill from the Motor Wheel site, and wastes - including ammonia - washed into the site.

Ammonia Cleanup Ordered

The Motor Wheel Disposal site - which does not include the Motor Wheel plant - was placed on the National Priorities (Superfund) List in 1986. In 1993, W.R. Grace was among several defendants that agreed to investigate possible contamination in the Saginaw Sandstone Aquifer. An interim report indicated that a plume of ammonia existed in the aquifer near the Lansing Board of Water and Light North Well Field. As a result, the utility board shut down 10 drinking water production wells in 1997. Further analysis showed that the plume was moving northwesterly toward the closed wells.

Ammonia Cleanup Ordered

Ammonia from the plume has not entered the treatment plant, and there have been no nitrite or nitrate associated illnesses.

Ammonia Cleanup Ordered

"The purpose of the emergency order is to ensure that cleanup of the ammonia plume occurs before it causes a problem at the treatment plant," said Acting Regional Administrator David A. Ullrich.

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