U.S. Water News Online
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- A waiver by the U.S. Environmental
Agency (EPA) from the requirement to monitor dioxin will save public water systems
in Alabama approximately $3 million, according to officials of the state
Department of Environmental Management.
EPA granted the department's request for a waiver based on
which demonstrated that monitoring of discharges from all dioxin sources in
the state indicated that the contaminant was not present. Beginning in 1993,
all public water systems using groundwater or surface water were to monitor
for dioxin for four consecutive quarters during a three-year period, under
existing EPA regulations promulgated in 1992.
"In addition to the cost which would approximate $1,500 per
sample," said Joe
Alan Power of the Alabama department's Water Supply Branch, "only recently
has there been a laboratory in the U.S. which is certified to provide dioxin
analysis in drinking water." Compounding these problems, added Power, "is the
fact that dioxin is rarely found in drinking water samples because it
attaches to soil particles, thereby being removed in the filtration process
during treatment of surface water, and it does not tend to migrate through
the soil to contaminate a groundwater source."
According to Power, Alabama officials elected to spend state
dioxin sources to demonstrate to EPA that the contaminant was not present, as
opposed to having systems incur monitoring costs which many of the state's
smaller systems would not have been able to afford. The department currently
is pursuing a similar approach regarding monitoring for naturally-occurring
asbestos in drinking water.
Return to the U.S. Water News' Archives page
Return to the U.S. Water News Homepage