U.S. EPA Releases Draft Guidance for Drinking Water Regulations

Guidance to help public water systems and states understand and implement recent regulations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing draft guidance to help public water systems and states understand and implement recent drinking water regulations.

The 2006 Stage 2 Disinfection Byproducts (DBP) Rule will help to protect public health by reducing exposure to contaminants that can result from the disinfection process needed to inactivate microbial pathogens. The rule extends protection to consecutive water systems (those that receive water from another public water system) and, under certain conditions, requires public water systems to evaluate their source, treatment and distribution system operations to understand potential causes of elevated DBP monitoring results. The Consecutive Systems Guidance Manual and Operational Evaluation Guidance Manuals are intended to assist public water systems to comply with these provisions of the regulation.

In 2006, EPA also released the Ground Water Rule (GWR), which extends protection from microbial pathogens to consumers served by systems using ground water as a source of drinking water. States are required to conduct sanitary surveys that look at the critical components of these public water systems to ensure that there are no deficiencies that could result in threats to public health, and take action when problems are identified. The GWR Sanitary Survey Guidance briefly reviews the sanitary survey regulatory provisions, describes the elements that should be evaluated during the course of a sanitary survey, and gives specific examples of what constitutes a significant deficiency.

The draft guidance documents are being made available to allow for public comment before they are finalized. The documents supporting the Stage 2 DBP Rule are available at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/disinfection/ stage2/compliance.html and the GWR guidance is available at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/disinfection/ gwr/compliancehelp.html.


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