EPA delays effective start of new arsenic drinking water rules

The Environmental Protection Agency today delayed the effective start of new arsenic drinking water rules until February 22, 2002 so that it can study the scientific and cost aspects of the rule.

May 23, 2001 — The Environmental Protection Agency today delayed the effective start of new arsenic drinking water rules until February 22, 2002 so that it can study the scientific and cost aspects of the rule.

It also clarifies which provisions of the Jan. 22 rule are subject to the review, which are unaffected by the review, and the process for the review. Additionally, it includes EPA's responses to the more than 12,000 public comments on the proposal to extend the effective date.

The effective date of the regulation was previously delayed 60 days on March 23, then delayed again to Feb. 22, 2002 on May 22.

This action doesn't change the effective date for clarifications to compliance and new source contaminants monitoring, which is Jan. 22, 2004.

On March 20, EPA Administrator Christie Whitman announced that the agency would reassess the scientific and cost issues with the rule. For now, the current standard of 50 micrograms per liter remains the allowable arsenic level in drinking water systems until the 2006 final compliance date.

The action is available for reference in the May 22 Federal Register. To learn more, call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791 or 1-703-285-1093. The e-mail address is hotline-sdwa@epa.gov for general information and copies of arsenic documents. The EPA has an arsenic page at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/arsenic.html.

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