Court upholds 10 ppb arsenic standard in Nebraska appeal

A federal appeals court has reinforced the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) 10 ppb arsenic limit.

Jun 26th, 2003

June 26, 2003 -- A federal appeals court has reinforced the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) 10 ppb arsenic limit.

The state of Nebraska and the city of Alliance, Nebraska, had challenged the limit in a court case, arguing that it was the responsibility of the state, not the federal government, to set drinking water limits, the Associated Press reported.

But three judges in the case on June 20 rejected the lawsuit's claim, saying it was without merit. Because the standard does not require states to pass laws or enforce the federal requirement, it could not be said that the federal government was encroaching on the state's authority.

EPA in 2001 changed the arsenic standard from 50 ppb to 10 ppb. The rule became effective on February 22, 2002. The date by which systems must comply with the new 10 ppb standard is January 23, 2006.

The new standard will force many drinking water treatment plants to install new equipment to filter out the naturally occurring heavy metal.

Nebraska has 51 communities which may be affected by the new standard, according to the Lincoln Journal-Star newspaper.

Officials estimate that the new rule could cost the state $65 to $110 million for compliance.

To see EPA's information about the arsenic rule implementation, visit the web site http://www.epa.gov/safewater/ars/implement.html.

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