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Environment

EPA Outlines Drinking Water Plan

by Britt E. Erickson
March 29, 2010 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 88, ISSUE 13

EPA has developed a new strategy for ensuring that drinking water is safe and clean. The plan, as outlined by EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson on March 22, involves four key components. First, EPA will address drinking water contaminants in groups rather than as individual chemicals. Second, the agency will work with the private sector to improve the cost and energy efficiency of water-treatment technology. Third, EPA will use existing authority, such as pesticide and toxic chemicals laws, to prevent contaminants from getting into drinking water. And fourth, EPA will collaborate with state and local agencies and the private sector on information sharing, monitoring, and analysis. “We’ve developed an approach that works within existing law and capitalizes on new innovations,” Jackson said. To better protect the public, the agency is also planning to strengthen existing regulations for four drinking water contaminants: trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, acrylamide, and epichlorohydrin. All four chemicals have been shown to cause cancer. Trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene are used in industrial and textile processing. Acrylamide and epichlorohydrin are impurities introduced during water treatment.

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