EPA Releases Guidance On Evaluating Treatment Changes For Drinking Water Compliance, Report On Emerging Technologies for Conveyance Systems

On Aug. 24, EPA announced on its Web site the release of a draft guidance to help public water systems as they make operational changes to comply with drinking water regulations that control microbial contaminants and disinfection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 well as other Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) regulations.

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 EPA is soliciting suggestions and recommendations to make this draft guidance manual more complete and user-friendly and also plans to hold a public meeting in September to discuss the guidance. The draft guidance, Draft Simultaneous Compliance Guidance Manual for Stage 2 Rules, is available at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/disinfection/stage2/compliance.html.

Also on Aug. 24, the agency announced the availability new technology guide for municipal and utility collection system owners and operators.

The guide provides information about innovative and emerging technologies for the installation and repair of new and existing conveyance systems. The nation's conveyance system is comprised of more than 21,000 collections systems accounting for more than 750,000 miles for publicly owned sanitary and combined sewers and 500,000 miles of privately owned sewers.

"This useful information will help advance our sustainable infrastructure agenda," Grumbles said.

The guide classifies the state of development for each technology as established, innovative, or embryonic and provides a technology summary fact sheet for each innovative and embryonic process with information describing the technology, cost data, contact information, and data sources. The guide also includes data on cost-effective technologies for repair and rehabilitation of existing conveyance systems and preliminary information on emerging technologies for new installations and for the repair of existing conveyance systems. The use of these cost effective technologies may extend the service life of the existing collection system or greatly reducing the replacement, repair, operation, and maintenance costs for municipal utilities across the country.

The report, Emerging Technologies for Conveyance Systems: New Installations and Rehabilitation Methods, can be accessed by visiting the publications section on the agency's Office of Wastewater Management Municipal Technologies Web site at http://www.epa.gov/owm/mtb.

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