New EPA Work Group on Arsenic Small Systems Compliance and Alternative Affordability Criteria

A new EPA sponsored work group is being formed to consider multiple issues that impact how small systems address arsenic. This includes the use of Point of Use (POU) or Point of Entry (POE) treatment, package plants, bottled water, and other measures to make the process more affordable for small systems. The work group is a direct result of the following language Congress inserted in EPA’s 2012 appropriations:

“….(2) convene a working group composed of representatives from States, small publicly owned water systems, local public health officials, drinking water consumers and treatment manufacturers to provide input and recommendations on barriers to the use of point-of-use and point-of-entry treatment units, package plants, (including water bottled by the public water system), and modular units, as well as alternative affordability criteria that give extra weight to small, rural, and lower income communities, and (3) based upon input from the working group submit to the Committees a report on actions to make alternative compliance methods (such as point of use, point of entry and package plants) more accessible to water systems and a report on alternative affordability criteria.”

The output of the work group will be a report on these issues which must be produced by June 20, 2012. This is a compressed timeframe that means EPA and the work group will move very quickly, with multiple meetings expected between now and April. The work group will be composed of states, small system representatives, local health officials, drinking water consumers, and water treatment manufacturers. EPA has asked four states (ME, WA, AZ, MI) and the Navajo Nation to officially participate in this work group. Other states will be able to monitor the discussions of the work group through webinars and conference calls that will be open to the public. The kick off meeting of the work group will be March 2, 2012 from 1:00 to 4:00 EST. The meeting will be held via the Internet using a Webcast and teleconference. Registrants will receive an Internet access link and dial in number upon registration for the Webcast. To participate in the Webcast, you must register in advance at the following Web address: ASDWA will share information on additional meeting as it becomes available.