If you don’t know the answer, it’s time to find out.
Every pubic water treatment system using chemical disinfectants is impacted by a relatively new EPA regulation that sets stricter standards for levels of disinfection byproducts (DBPs) in drinking water. The EPA Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (Stage 2 DBPR, part of the 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act, went into effect in 2012.
All community water systems (CWSs) needed to begin compliance by October 1, 2013.
What is the Stage 2 DBPR?
Disinfecting drinking water was one of the most important public health achievements of the twentieth century. But now we know that the disinfectants can react with naturally occurring materials in the water to form byproducts that may pose health risks – and that specific microbial pathogens are highly resistant to traditional disinfectant practices.
The Stage 2 DBPR is aimed at reducing some byproducts of chlorinated water by closely monitoring two groups of DBPs – trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs) – that may be linked to cancer and developmental and reproductive health risks.
What are cities required to do?
The first step, which most cities have already done, is to put a monitoring system in place to test for DBP levels. Sampling and trending the data is the only way to proactively look for DBPs.
Each community water system must evaluate its distribution system to identify locations with high DBP concentrations. These locations will then be used as sampling sites for compliance monitoring. The results, which are submitted to the state, are used to:
- test the treated water for levels of THMs and HAAs
- determine if DBPs in the distribution system will exceed the new limits
Systems must begin complying with rule requirements to determine compliance with the operational levels for THMS and HAAs by July 2014. If you need help determining if your system is in compliance, Moore Engineering can help you with a system evaluation.
Strategies for compliance
What happens if you discover problems and are flagged for violations? It could be an easy fix or a tough fix. Every city water system is unique and there are many variables that could be affecting your results.
At Moore Engineering, we provide technical water and wastewater support to help city water system operators understand what DBPs are, how they affect your community, and what can be done to limit DPBs in your water system. In some cases, cities may have to change their treatment process.
Whatever your situation, our team can help you evaluate your options to find the best solution for your community.
Kent Ritterman is Moore Engineering’s environmental engineering manager, based out of the West Fargo office. What he likes best about the job: the variety of work and great Moore colleagues, including Dean Sletten and Dan Portlock, environmental engineers who provided helpful information for this post.
Are you implementing the Stage 2 DBPR? Do you have questions about how to make sure your community water system is in full compliance? Let’s talk.