WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) outlined a new strategy to protect the public from chemical contaminants in drinking water yesterday, as well as plans to revise its drinking-water standard for four chemical contaminants, including perchloroethylene.
"To confront emerging health threats, strained budgets and increased needs, we must use the law more effectively and promote new technologies," EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson told members of the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA). "That means fostering innovation that can increase cost-effective protection. To make our drinking water systems work harder, we have to work smarter."
The new strategy would expand consumer protections under existing laws, EPA says. The agency would address chemical contaminants as a group for cost-effective enforcement, foster development of new water-treatment technologies, and partner with states to better monitor public water systems.
The current approach focuses on individual contaminants, making for slow assessments, EPA says. However, the agency says it will explore a stricter standard for four "carcinogenic" chemical compounds: tetrachloroethylene [perc], trichloroethylene, acrylamide and epichlorohydrin. EPA says it will initiate its new rulemaking effort to revise tetrachloroethylene and trichloroethylene standards within the year.