EPA proposes expanded list of contaminants for water utilities to watch
March 8, 2011

The EPA is proposing a new set of rules to require many water systems to test for four metals, chlorate, a number of perfluorinated chemicals, and several hormones and pharmaceuticals. The contaminants (28 of them in all, plus two viruses) aren't regulated, but the agency wants to use the measurements to determine if there's a health-based reason for doing so. In an ideal world, of course, we would test for every possible contaminant and remove them all. But water treatment isn't free, and it's important to ensure that the amount of treatment, monitoring, and testing required remains sufficiently economical that it doesn't force small utilities to shut down their water service, leading more people to consume their water from less-treated private wells and other lower-quality supplies. Ongoing assessment of the potential harm from contaminants that haven't previously been carefully monitored can help ensure that the maximum good comes from every dollar spent in water treatment.

March 2011
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last revised March 2011