2006 in Review

Dec. 4, 2006
A brief update of water quality regulations and guidelines

As you wrap up 2006, WQP would like to provide you with a quick update of the year’s important regulatory developments, as well as some new guidelines available for small drinking water systems. For your use as a reference throughout 2007, the following is a handy summary of information released by the U.S. EPA and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Ground Water Rule

A new EPA rule, which will affect more than 100 million Americans, targets utilities that provide water from underground sources and requires greater vigilance for potential contamination by disease-causing microorganisms.

The risk-targeting strategy incorporated in the rule provides for: regular sanitary surveys of public water systems to look for significant deficiencies in key operational areas; triggered source water monitoring when a system that does not sufficiently disinfect drinking water identifies a positive sample during its regular monitoring to comply with existing rules; implementation of corrective actions by groundwater systems with a significant deficiency or evidence of source water fecal contamination; and compliance monitoring for systems that are sufficiently treating drinking water to ensure effective removal of pathogens.

A groundwater system is subject to triggered source water monitoring if its treatment methods don’t already remove 99.99% of viruses. Systems must begin to comply with the new requirements by Dec. 1, 2009.

Lead & Copper Rule

The EPA has proposed revisions that would affect the lead portions of the Lead and Copper Rule for drinking water. The proposal would: revise monitoring requirements to ensure water samples show how effective lead controls are; clarify the timing of sample collection and tighten criteria for reducing the frequency of monitoring; require that utilities receive state approval of treatment changes so that states can provide direction or require additional monitoring; require that water utilities notify occupants of the results of any testing that occurs within a home or facility and also ensure that consumers receive information about how to limit their exposure to lead in drinking water; and require systems to reevaluate lead service lines that may have previously been identified as low risk after any major treatment changes that could affect corrosion control.

WHO Drinking Water Quality Guidelines

The WHO has released the first addendum to the third edition of the Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality. This addendum adds important information to, and replaces parts of, the third edition of the guidelines.

The addendum includes new and expanded information on the management of emergencies and unforeseen events, as well as new fact sheets for some chemicals not previously considered in the guidelines, and updated fact sheets for some chemicals that were previously listed.

The guidelines are used by developing and developed countries worldwide as the basis of regulation and standard setting to ensure the safety of drinking water. The third edition of the guidelines, published in 2004, particularly takes account of developments in risk assessment and risk management. The guidelines are kept up to date through a process of rolling revisions.

EPA Guidelines for Small Systems

Total Coliform Rule. A new handbook from the EPA, Total Coliform Rule: A Handbook for Small Community Water Systems Serving Less Than 3,300 Persons, covers the Total Coliform Rule, types of drinking water samples, sampling requirements, developing a sample siting plan, compliance flow charts and more.

Affordable treatment options. A new guidance document from the EPA, Point-of-Use or Point-of-Entry Treatment Options for Small Drinking Water Systems, provides operators and water officials with valuable information about treatment devices that can be installed at a consumer’s tap or on the water line to a consumer’s home or building.

Monitoring tools. A new set of user-friendly multimedia products from the EPA is available to help small drinking water utilities determine federal monitoring requirements and prepare water compliance samples under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The tool kit features an interactive Rule Wizard website that provides a complete list of all the federal monitoring requirements for a selected type and size of public drinking water system.

For additional information, visit:

  • www.epa.gov
  • www.who.int/en/
  • www.wqa.org
  • www.awwa.org

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