New Guidance to Help Public Water Systems Evaluate Treatment Changes

Aug. 28, 2006

The U.S. EPA is releasing a draft guidance to help public water systems as they make operational changes to comply with drinking water regulations that control microbial contaminants and disinfection byproducts. As they work to provide safe drinking water, operators of public water systems must evaluate the effects that changes in the treatment process could have on their ability to meet multiple drinking water standards.

“This is an important step in completing our lead reduction action plan and helping utilities meet existing and new requirements under the Safe Drinking Water Act,” said Benjamin H. Grumbles, assistant administrator for Water.

The failure to carefully consider these effects can result in problems that affect public health. For example, treatment changes to reduce disinfection byproducts could increase the corrosivity of drinking water, which, in the absence of adequate corrosion control, could result in an increase in lead in drinking water.

This revised manual builds on a similar manual developed for the Stage 1 Disinfection Byproduct Rule. It incorporates new research and case studies and is presented in a more user-friendly manner. Release of the guidance supports the Stage 2 Disinfection Byproduct Rule and is an action item in the agency’s 2005 Drinking Water Lead Reduction Plan. EPA is soliciting suggestions and recommendations to make this draft guidance manual more complete and user-friendly and also plans to hold a public meeting in September to discuss the guidance.

Source: EPA