EPA Develops Cost-estimating Tool for Small Drinking Water Systems

On April 13, EPA announced the release of a cost-estimating tool to help small drinking water systems and states evaluate the cost of point-of-use (POU) or point-of-entry (POE) treatment devices as a compliance strategy.

POU drinking water treatment devices are typically installed under a kitchen sink and remove contaminants such as arsenic, lead and radium. POE drinking water treatment devices are usually installed outside the home or business and treat an even wider variety of contaminants, viruses and bacteria that can cause acute health problems.

Depending on the site-specific conditions, the contaminant to be treated and the technology chosen to treat it, the treatment devices offer the potential to significantly reduce costs for small treatment systems.

The tool was developed as a companion tool for a guidance EPA issued last year, "Point-of-Use or Point-of-Entry Treatment Options for Small Drinking Water Systems." The tool provides cost estimates for the elements of a POU/POE compliance strategy as identified in the guidance. The capital costs discussed in the guidance pertain to device purchase and installation, public education and various engineering, permitting and legal activities, which are often referred to as indirect capital costs.

The POU/POE tool and 2006 guidance manual are available on EPA's "Small Systems Information and Guidance" Web site at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/smallsys/ssinfo.htm.

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