EPA releases microbial risk assessment resource for waterborne pathogens
The Environmental Protection Agency has published the document, "Microbial Risk Assessment Tools, Methods, and Approaches for Water Media," to aid risk assessors and scientists in developing rigorous and scientifically defensible risk assessments for waterborne pathogens.
Jan. 12, 2015 -- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that it has published the new document, "Microbial Risk Assessment Tools, Methods, and Approaches for Water Media," to aid risk assessors and scientists in developing rigorous and scientifically defensible risk assessments for waterborne pathogens.
Risk assessment is a science-based process and is used to help managers explore the relative merits of various management alternatives, identify important gaps in knowledge and inform regulatory actions.
EPA’s document describes a human health risk assessment framework for microbial hazards in water media -- pathogens in treated drinking water, source water for drinking water, recreational waters, shellfish waters, and biosolids -- that is compatible with other existing risk assessment frameworks for human health and chemical hazards.
Both the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA) address microbial contamination of the nation's waters. The CWA enables protection of surface water for drinking water, recreational and aquatic food source uses, while the SDWA enables regulation of contamination of finished drinking water and protection of source waters.
Programs under the two Acts have historically followed separate paths using differing indicators of contamination and differing approaches. Concerns about future increases in microbial contamination and potential for emergence of new threats create a need to consider a strategy for the future that unites the influence of the two programs.
Objectives of the strategy are to address all important sources of contamination, anticipate emerging problems and use program and research activities efficiently to protect public health. Users can access a variety of sound scientific assessments that are used to protect the public from exposure to harmful levels of pathogens in ground and surface waters, food sources and finished drinking water.
In addition to the microbial risk assessment document, EPA has also published other similar works that include a microbial risk assessment thesaurus; water quality standards and implementation resources; regulatory support documents; drinking water health manuals; and important proceedings that consist of its 2007 Experts Scientific Workshop.