EPA Begins Releasing Guidance Required Under SDWA

The Environmental Protection Agency has published guidance documents and proposals that will provide information on a variety of topics, including how to develop Consumer Confidence Reports, capacity and affordability criteria for water systems and operator certification standards.

The Environmental Protection Agency has published guidance documents and proposals that will provide information on a variety of topics, including how to develop Consumer Confidence Reports, capacity and affordability criteria for water systems and operator certification standards.

All four pieces of guidance were required by the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996 and were developed during a series of stakeholder meetings held in the past year.

Consumer Confidence Reports

The EPA recently released its proposed rule to require most water systems to give consumers an annual report on the quality of their drinking water. Utilities would be required to tell consumers about their source water, EPAs safety standards for contaminants found in local drinking water; the level of those contaminants, etc. If the level of a contaminant exceeds EPAs standards, utilities would have to explain the health risks associated with the contaminant and actions taken to remedy the violation.

Capacity Development

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has published, for public comment, draft "Guidance for States on Implementing the Capacity Development Provisions of the 1996 Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act." The agency also released related draft documents for public review and comment.

Capacity Development

To maintain eligibility for their Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) allotment, states must ensure that new community water systems and new nontransient noncommunity water systems demonstrate adequate capacity, and implement a strategy to help existing systems maintain capacity.

Capacity Development

Capacity development is an important component of the SDWAs focus on preventing problems in drinking water. The goal of the provisions is to ensure that systems acquire and maintain the technical, financial, and managerial capacity needed to achieve the public health protection objectives of the SDWA.

Affordability Criteria

EPA recently published "Information for States on Developing Affordability Criteria for Drinking Water," which was developed with the help of stakeholders under the auspices of the National Drinking Water Advisory Council (NDWAC).

Affordability Criteria

The guidance will be used in granting variances to water systems unable to comply with federal drinking water quality standards. Factors affecting eligibility for variances include system size, compliance alternatives, the nature of contamination and the risk to public health, and affordability. The states also can formulate their own affordability criteria for use in granting variances.

Operator Certification

EPA has also released “Information for States on Recommended Operator Certification Requirements.” The document was developed by a work group under the general provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. It consists of four chapters, including a summary of the existing state operator certification programs and operator certification program standards developed by the Association of Boards of Certification.

Operator Certification

EPA has also released “Information for States on Recommended Operator Certification Requirements.” The document was developed by a work group under the general provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. It consists of four chapters, including a summary of the existing state operator certification programs and operator certification program standards developed by the Association of Boards of Certification.

Operator Certification

Contact information is also given for State Drinking Water Administrators and Operator Certification Program Officers.

Operator Certification

Information in the document is offered for information only and is designed to help states review their operator certification programs. The information will be used by EPA as background material to develop operator certification guidelines, as required by Section 1419 of the SDWA. The guidelines will be published by February 1999 and will specify the minimum requirements for a state operator certification program.

Operator Certification

Copies of the proposals and documents may be obtained by calling the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791. The hotline operates Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (CST). The documents may also be downloaded from EPAs homepage, http://www.epa.gov/ OGWDW.

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