Category Archives: Compliance and Enforcement

Development of DBP Non-Compliance Potential Index

Islam N, Sadiq R, Rodriguez MJ, Legay C. Assessing regulatory violations of disinfection by-products in water distribution networks using a non-compliance potential index. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. 2016 May;188(5):304. doi: 10.1007/s10661-016-5306-3.

Inactivating pathogens is essential to eradicate waterborne diseases. However, disinfection forms undesirable disinfection by-products (DBPs) in the presence of natural organic matter. Many regulations and guidelines exist to limit DBP exposure for eliminating possible health impacts such as bladder cancer, reproductive effects, and child development effects. In this paper, an index named non-compliance potential (NCP) index is proposed to evaluate regulatory violations by DBPs. The index can serve to evaluate water quality in distribution networks using the Bayesian Belief Network (BBN). BBN is a graphical model to represent contributing variables and their probabilistic relationships. Total trihalomethanes (TTHM), haloacetic acids (HAA5), and free residual chlorine (FRC) are selected as the variables to predict the NCP index. A methodology has been proposed to implement the index using either monitored data, empirical model results (e.g., multiple linear regression), and disinfectant kinetics through EPANET simulations. The index’s usefulness is demonstrated through two case studies on municipal distribution systems using both full-scale monitoring and modeled data. The proposed approach can be implemented for data-sparse conditions, making it especially useful for smaller municipal drinking watersystems.

Investor-owned water companies have a cleaner record than public utilities

From the American Water Intelligence (AWI) report (click here):

“An AWI analysis of EPA data on serious violators of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act has shown that privately owned and operated water utilities – especially large investor-owned companies – have a much cleaner record than public utilities when it comes to SDWA violations and fines.”

“The analysis, which included data on water systems with serious violations and least 500 customers over the past three years, showed that only 13 percent of facilities with current, serious SDWA violations are run exclusively by private companies. Only one of the 1,369 serious violators in the list is a large, investor-owned water company.”


Figure source: American Water Intelligence

Amar 2010: Ensuring safe water in post-chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear emergencies.

P.K. Amar. Ensuring safe water in post-chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear emergencies. J Pharm Bioallied Sci. 2010 Jul;2(3):253-66.

Disaster scenarios are dismal and often result in mass displacement and migration of people. In eventuality of emergency situations, people need to be rehabilitated and provided with an adequate supply of drinking water, the most essential natural resource needed for survival, which is often not easily available even during non-disaster periods. In the aftermath of a natural or human-made disaster affecting mankind and livestock, the prime aim is to ensure supply of safe water to reduce the occurrence and spread of water borne disease due to interrupted, poor and polluted water supply. Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) emergencies augment the dilemma as an additional risk of “contamination” is added. The associated risks posed to health and life should be reduced to as low as reasonably achievable. Maintaining a high level of preparedness is the crux of quick relief and efficient response to ensure continuous supply of safe water, enabling survival and sustenance. The underlying objective would be to educate and train the persons concerned to lay down the procedures for the detection, cleaning, and treatment, purification including desalination, disinfection, and decontamination of water. The basic information to influence the organization of preparedness and execution of relief measures at all levels while maintaining minimum standards in water management at the place of disaster, are discussed in this article.

Click here for the full article (free).

Press Spin Case Study: Water Utilities in Violation will be Targeted

In an election year expect to be targeted by the press if you are the owner or operator of a water system that has not been able to stay in compliance with existing drinking water regulations. Such systems need to achieve compliance as soon as possible. This press exposure will be a opportunity to tell your side of the story. Click here for an example in Pennsylvania. 

In the stimulus bill (HR 1) there was $2 billion for the drinking water state revolving fund administered by USEPA, of which $1 billion was to be given away. What ever happened to that free money?

Waukesha, WI – Great Lakes Water Application

The city has developed a multifaceted source water approach to ensure a sustainable long-term water supply and comply with the USEPA MCL for radium by their legal deadline of June 2018.  Under the plan deep wells would be used, along with a Lake Michigan diversion from Milwaukee and return flow to the Great Lakes, which alone is projected to cost $164 million with $6.2 million in annual operation and maintenance costs. 

Click here for the Waukesha Patch news article.

Hammonton, New Jersey – Radium

Two Town wells found to have radium higher than the regulatory level….few details reported….health risk likely not significant. 

Click here for the Press of Atlantic City article.