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Discussion Web Forum Closed

2011 February 1

The Drinking Water Strategy Discussion Web Forum is no longer open to receive comments. Thank you for taking time to contribute to this effort by sharing your thoughts and ideas. As the Agency implements the Drinking Water Strategy, we will review and consider the comments you have submitted. For the latest information on the Drinking Water Strategy, please visit our Web site at: http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/rulesregs/sdwa/dwstrategy/index.cfm

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Topic 1: Address contaminants as a groups rather than one at a time to enhance drinking water protection cost-effectively.

2010 July 29

Today, we are detecting new contaminants in drinking water at a much faster rate than we are addressing them.   We have begun efforts to define approaches to address groups of contaminants that will be more efficient and keep pace with the increasing knowledge we have about chemicals in our products, our environment, and our bodies.  We are looking for ideas to develop a framework that can be used to address the contaminants as groups.  For example, a framework to define groups of contaminants could be based on similar health effects, co-occurrence in the environment or public water systems, comparable analytical methods, and/or related drinking water treatment.  Frameworks based on one or more of these examples may be appropriate for different groups of contaminants.

  • What are some potential approaches for addressing contaminants as groups?
  • If you or your organization has experience addressing groups of contaminants, what factors have you considered that worked and which factors have not worked?
  • Have you identified potential group(s) of contaminants and what challenges or questions have you encountered in identifying potential group(s)?
  • What are some of the key scientific and implementation aspects that EPA should consider as we move forward?
  • Can you provide examples of contaminant groups that may present a meaningful opportunity to protect public health and reduce risk?

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Topic 2: Foster development of new drinking water technologies to address health risks posed by a broad array of contaminants.

2010 July 29

We want to build on the solid foundation laid by EPA water scientists and engineers and engage innovators in developing the next generation of drinking water technology. We plan to collaborate with universities, technology developers, and other stakeholders to accelerate development and adoption of treatment technologies. We particularly want to focus on the specific challenges and issues facing smaller systems and rural areas.

  • What technological approaches and contaminants will confront utilities in the future? Are there technologies EPA should consider for small systems?
  • Have you or your organization identified critical elements that should be included in developing innovative drinking water technologies, especially for small systems?  
  • Have you or your organization been involved in developing treatment technologies that can cost-effectively and reliably reduce health risks, through control of a broad suite of contaminants?
  • What are the driving factors utilities consider when evaluating technologies that could address broad arrays of multiple contaminants in large and small systems? 
  • What is needed to convince the public and the private sector to invest in advanced drinking water technologies?

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Topic 3: Use the authority of multiple statutes to help protect drinking water.

2010 July 29

We want to take common sense steps that make the most of EPA’s broad-reaching programs and use all appropriate authorities to protect drinking water. Rather than having these programs working independently, we want to bring them together where they overlap. For example FIFRA – the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act – can use pesticide registration to assess drinking water risks, generate missing data and develop analytical methods for drinking water regulations. Under TSCA – the Toxic Substances Control Act – we can use EPA’s chemical action plans to identify and address drinking water issues that may be posed by widely used chemicals. This means that we can take steps to stop contaminants before they get into drinking water – a safer and cheaper alternative to getting them out of drinking water.

  • EPA is focusing on regulated contaminants and those that are on the Candidate Contaminant List 3. Are there other contaminants you believe EPA should focus on?
  • EPA has the ability to limit or restrict the use of chemicals, if warranted.  What kind of requirements or criteria should EPA consider for chemical contaminants using authorities other than SDWA?
  • How often and who should be conducting monitoring to determine occurrence?  Should it be states, public water systems, or pesticide manufacturers?
  • What other opportunities do you suggest for EPA to use authorities to protect drinking water?

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Topic 4: Collaborate with states to develop shared access to all public water systems (PWS) monitoring data.

2010 July 29

We want to collaborate with state and local partners to improve information exchange. Since the rules for public water systems monitoring data reporting were written, advances in information technology increase possibilities for EPA and states to exchange critical information.  EPA currently receives only violation data. Creating an exchange for all public water systems data collected will let us do more without adding to the information collection burden. We want to share powerful information technology tools to better target program oversight, compliance assistance, and enforcement to areas of highest risk. We want to make our work and the information exchange interactive and transparent. New communications tools can enable states, industry, and most importantly consumers to learn more about their drinking water. We envision a system where people will have better access to timely information about the water that is piped into their homes.

  • What do you think are the opportunities and barriers to public water systems submitting data electronically to states?
  • Do you have ideas about how EPA should share occurrence data with the public to communicate the quality of drinking water transparently?
  • What concerns do you have about EPA receiving all the data systems report to the states?
  • How can systems and EPA ensure data quality?

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.