EPA Seeks Comment On Additional Studies Under Consideration For Finalizing Ground Water Rule

EPA is seeking comment on seven additional studies under consideration in finalizing the "Ground Water Rule" the agency proposed in 2000.

The purpose of the proposed Ground Water Rule (GWR), a national primary drinking water regulation, is to provide for increased protection against microbial pathogens in public water systems that use groundwater sources. In the proposed rule, EPA presented 16 occurrence studies. The agency did not use data from all of those 16 studies in developing the proposed rule because certain studies had a different scope and were not nationally representative.

Since the rule was proposed, new data have become available that further delineate pathogen and fecal indicator occurrence in groundwater, according to a March 27 Federal Register notice.

Based on public comments received on the proposed GWR, the Agency has re-evaluated the 16 occurrence studies described in the proposed rule and examined the data from the seven additional new studies. Some of these seven additional studies demonstrate actual pathogen and/or fecal indicator presence in groundwater at detectable levels. The agency believes that, when considered collectively, these studies better EPA's understanding of the national occurrence of viruses and fecal indicators and confirm that certain public groundwater systems may be at risk of fecal contamination, which may pose a threat to public health.

Comments must be received by April 26. The Federal Register notice can be accessed at http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-WATER/2006/March/Day-27/w2931.htm.

This article originally appeared in the 03/01/2006 issue of Environmental Protection.

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