When there is a contamination or an infrastructure problem, small systems are at a great financial and personnel disadvantage. Small water systems lack economies of scale which limits their access to persons with appropriate expertise when issues arise. Even if the water quality is good and/or technology is installed, the operation and maintenance and distribution infrastructure issues are still substantial. There are practical lower cost solutions to ensuring safe drinking water in small communities, but it requires prioritizing resources.
AWWA Water Science: Does regulating per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances represent a meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction?
By: Chad Seidel, Katherine Alfredo, Amlan Ghosh US Environmental Protection Agency’s drinking water contaminant regulations must meet a qualitative “meaningful opportunity” threshold in health risk reduction. Using our Relative Health Indicator (RHI) metric, we quantify the ranges of potential health risk reductions that could be achieved from state and federal per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances regulatory levels (proposed or finalized) and compare them with previous regulatory determinations of other contaminants to create a quantifiable, comparable scale of “meaningful opportunity” justifications.
The Human Right to Water “HR2W” guides the California Water Board’s mission of functioning and sustainable drinking water systems. To develop the first Statewide Drinking Water Needs Assessment, Council member Chad Seidel and his colleagues worked alongside other water professionals to evaluate the current challenges facing safe and affordable water supply in California.
In the early 1990s, I was privileged to be involved in a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) project to evaluate and provide technical assistance to poorly performing surface water treatment plants. The project involved the evaluation of more than 100 surface water treatment plants in about 20 states. We worked with state agencies to identify and evaluate the plants that presented the greatest public health risks.
Policymakers must take a science-based approach when it comes to using our nation’s public resources. We believe funding decisions require a careful risk and cost-benefit analysis, and that includes the approach to PFAS and ALL contaminants.
Our nation’s public resources are best used where they will have the biggest impact on human health. We stand with our nation’s water professionals in their letter of opposition to the PFAS Action Act.