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Eight Drinking Water Systems in Alaska are in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act

(Seattle - August 4, 2010) Eight Alaskan drinking water systems are being ordered to conduct water sampling required to protect human health, or face potential fines for violations of federal drinking water laws, according to compliance orders issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The systems violated the Safe Drinking Water Act and the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations. These systems did not complete required sampling and/or did not submit a summary report to the EPA that was due on July 1.

"These systems are tasked with delivering safe, clean water to the customers they serve," said Marie Jennings, manager of the Drinking Water Program for EPA's Region 10. "EPA's goal is for these systems to get up to speed to ensure their water is safe."

EPA has ordered the systems to conduct the required sampling and complete their report. The sampling will identify locations in the distribution system where disinfection byproducts are the highest, and the report will establish these locations as regular monitoring sites.

Chlorine disinfection byproducts can form in drinking water distribution systems. At high levels, they can harm human health. As required by federal laws, these eight systems already conduct regular monitoring for disinfection byproducts. However, the current monitoring locations may no longer be where the highest levels of disinfection byproducts are found. If this is the case, customers in some parts of the distribution system could be unknowingly drinking water that contains harmful levels of disinfection byproducts. This sampling will help ensure that future monitoring efforts will be effective at detecting any unsafe levels of disinfection byproducts in the system.

EPA issued compliance orders to the following systems:
  • Alakanuk Water System, serving approximately 570 customers
  • Bethel - City S/D Water System, serving approximately 700 customers
  • Bethel Heights Water System, serving approximately 1,270 customers
  • Craig Public Works, serving approximately 1,475 customers
  • Emmonak Water System, serving approximately 820 customers
  • Klawock, serving approximately 904 customers
  • Kotlik Water System, serving approximately 591 customers
  • YK Delta Regional Hospital, serving approximately 510 customers
These systems have violated EPA's Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule. The State of Alaska's Department of Environmental Conservation is responsible for implementing and enforcing most of the drinking water rules for public water systems in Alaska, however they have not yet adopted this rule.

For additional information about this rule visit: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/disinfection/stage2/

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