- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
The EPA has delivered on a promise to quickly develop guidance documents for monitoring hexavalent chromium in drinking water. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson met with members of the Senate before Christmas to brief them on the available information regarding a problem that has been reported by researchers that there may be levels of the chemical currently in our drinking water that could present a danger particularly to children and infants.
"Protecting public health is EPA’s top priority. As we continue to learn more about the potential risks of exposure to chromium-6, we will work closely with states and local officials to ensure the safety of America’s drinking water supply," said Jackson. "This action is another step forward in understanding the problem and working towards a solution that is based on the best available science and the law."
The enhanced monitoring guidance provides recommendations on where facilities should collect samples and how often they should be collected, along with analytical methods for laboratory testing. Facilities that perform the enhanced monitoring will be able to better inform their consumers about any presence of chromium-6 in their drinking water, evaluate the degree to which other forms of chromium are transformed into chromium-6, and assess the degree to which existing treatment affects the levels of chromium-6 in drinking water.
Currently, water treatment systems are required to test for total chromium but do not have to distinguish the types of the chemical found in their water. The EPA stated it always assumes that reported results are 100 percent hexchrome, thus being most protective. The agency said that no facilities are in violation of their permits because of high chromium levels.
The science behind hexchrome is evolving. The agency regularly re-evaluates drinking water standards and, based on new science for the chemical, has already begun a rigorous and comprehensive review of its health effects. In September 2010, the agency released a draft of the scientific review for public comment. When the human health assessment is finalized in 2011, the EPA will carefully review the conclusions and consider all relevant information to determine if a new standard needs to be set. While the agency conducts this important evaluation, it believes more information is needed in drinking water. For that reason, the EPA is providing guidance to all public water systems and encouraging them to consider how they may enhance their monitoring for hexavalent chromium.>br>
More information on the new guidance to drinking water systems at this link.