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Environment

Monitoring Required For Drinking Water

by Cheryl Hogue
May 7, 2012 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 90, ISSUE 19

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Credit: Airman 1st Class Sean Adams/Air Force
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Credit: Airman 1st Class Sean Adams/Air Force

Hexavalent chromium, six perfluoro­carbons, and seven sex hormones are among the 28 chemicals that utilities will have to test for in drinking water under a rule EPA finalized last week. Between 2013 and 2015, some 6,000 public water systems will monitor the chemicals as well as enteroviruses and noroviruses, the agency says. The data collected “will provide EPA with invaluable information about what municipalities are seeing in their drinking water all across the country,” says Nancy Stoner, acting assistant administrator for water at EPA. The agency will eventually determine whether it needs to regulate these substances or viruses in drinking water to protect public health. Although each listed chemical and virus is suspected of being in drinking water, none is regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act. That law requires EPA to select up to 30 unregulated contaminants every five years for monitoring. EPA says it will provide more than $20 million for the new monitoring, primarily to help small utilities cover the costs of laboratory analyses, shipping, and quality control.

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