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The Latest Water News from the EPA

Arsenic in California?
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered eleven public drinking water systems in California to reduce their levels of arsenic or face $32,500 in penalty fees for every day they are in violation. The federal Safe Drinking Water Act requires an arsenic standard of no more than 10 parts per billion. The eleven systems found in 2008 to have unsafe levels were all located in Kern County, Sonoma County, Fresno County, Nevada County, Kings County, or Santa Rosa. Go to www.epa.gov for updates.
 
Airplanes and E. Coli
 
Microbiological contamination is more likely to be found in the drinking water of airplanes. The EPA proposed rules that will make the water safer through better testing, treatment, and maintenance. A whopping fifteen percent of aircraft tested were positive for coliform bacteria. The EPA has placed 45 air carriers under administrative orders on consent that are in effect until the regulations are final. While the EPA is responsible for the onboard water, the FDA is responsible for checking the water trucks and hoses that supply the aircraft with water. International flights are not under the jurisdiction of the EPA, so travelers should proceed with caution.
 
Mercury Rising
 
Amalgam (tooth filling material for a cavity) is comprised of powdered mercury, silver, and tin. The EPA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the American Dental Association to monitor the effectiveness of amalgam separators. Hopefully the program will reduce mercury pollution in sewers. Under the new program, the amalgam waste gets collected and recycled, rather than thrown into the water sewer system and environment. 
 
New Wastewater Requirements for Big Farms
 
Manure contains nitrogen and phosphorus, and in large quantities, can be devastating to nearby streams, lakes, and other water. The EPA has finalized a rule that forces big farms to safely manage the manure, which will prevent 56 million pounds of phosphorus and 110 million pounds of nitrogen from entering our waters. The Department of Agriculture worked closely with the EPA to ensure that large farms can implement the new rule without extreme financial cost.
 
As the EPA monitors water and wastewater from the dental industry to the airline industry, there is sure to be a market position for those who can help the big industries more easily follow the rules.

By Adam Herschkowitz
Get Water Treatment Jobs, Contributing Editor

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