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EPA has tightened drinking water requirements to protect an additional 18 million Americans served by 11,000 small drinking water systems from Cryptosporidium and other disease-causing microorganisms. For those smaller drinking water systems that serve fewer than 10,000 people, this final rule has the same protective requirements already in place for large systems.
To provide maximum public health protection, the Agency is now requiring small systems to use the best available technology to further ensure the safety of the nation's drinking water supply. This final rule requires 99 percent removal of Cryptosporidium through enhanced filtration. Cryptosporidium spores cannot be eliminated by commonly used disinfectants, such as chlorine, and must be captured through enhanced filtration techniques.
Cryptosporidium, found in animal wastes, can cause intestinal problems and possibly death in some vulnerable populations. It has caused numerous episodes of sickness over the years, the largest reported in Milwaukee in l993 when over 400,000 residents became ill and 50 people died. Small systems have three years to come into compliance with the enhanced filtration requirements. Technical and financial assistance is available to the states and utilities. EPA estimates that the annual cost of the rule will be $39.5 million. The average annual household cost is estimated at $6.24. Ninety percent of households will experience costs of less than $15 a year. Additional information on the "Final Long Term 1 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule" is provided at: http://www.epa.gov/safewater under "What's New."