EPA invests $8M to secure San Francisco's drinking water supply

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced an $8 million grant awarded to San Francisco to help the city develop and evaluate a drinking water contamination warning system for its drinking water supply. The pilot project, called the Water Security Initiative, is expected to serve as a model for the nation's drinking water utilities. The grant funds will allow the San Francisco Public Utility Commission (SFPUC) to pilot monitoring, sampling, detection and early warning systems...

WASHINGTON, DC, May 12, 2008 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced an $8 million grant awarded to San Francisco to help the city develop and evaluate a drinking water contamination warning system for its drinking water supply. The pilot project, called the Water Security Initiative, is expected to serve as a model for the nation's drinking water utilities.

The grant funds will allow the San Francisco Public Utility Commission (SFPUC) to pilot monitoring, sampling, detection and early warning systems. The $8 million EPA grant will be matched by a $3 million investment by the SFPUC. New York City also recently received a similar grant, announced last month.

The SFPUC currently tests drinking water more than 90,000 times per year throughout the regional water system using state-of-the-art sampling, detection and analysis tools. The EPA's grant will allow the SFPUC to also deploy and pilot new high technology equipment that monitors and detects for new potential contaminants at key locations in the water system.

While specific details about the system cannot be divulged for security reasons, the contamination warning system to be installed and evaluated by San Francisco involves online water quality monitoring, public health surveillance, sampling and analysis, enhanced security monitoring, and consumer complaint surveillance. The warning system is also designed to be sustainable for long-term operation and to improve water quality management.

The SFPUC's Hetch Hetchy regional water system delivers reliable, high quality drinking water to more than 2.4 million Bay Area residents in San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Alameda Counties from protected Sierra and Bay Area reservoirs and watersheds.

For more information about the EPA's Water Security Initiative: http://cfpub.epa.gov/safewater/watersecurity/index.cfm.

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