26,895 Boston Marathon runners run down streets for miles and miles. Whenever a runner gets tired they run to a side spot and chug a glass of fresh, clean water. However, clean drinking water is not so redily available to everyone in America.
There are nearly 55,000 community water systems in this country, supplying water to meet the drinking needs of more than 90 percent of the U.S. population. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines a community water source as one that consistently provides water to at least twenty-five percent for at least sixty days during the course of a year. In Washington, D.C., our nation's capital, clean drinking water is a very serious issue. During the summer of 2014, the residents of Washington had many doubts about the quality of the city’s water. Many residents of the Petworth subdivision of Northwest Washington, D.C. live in homes that tested positive for high levels of lead in their water.
But in order to understand the problems of Washington’s water system, you must know the history in how the country’s water systems and standards were formed. The United States has gravitated toward a modified minimal degradation policy that incorporates a best-available-treatment (BAT) criterion. Under this particular policy, their main objective is to minimize the effects of discharges on receiving waters, but it is recognized that the extent of wastewater treatment is technically and economically constrained. Best-available-treatment treatment is defined by the type of waste under consideration. For municipal wastewaters BAT standard is usually considered to be secondary treatment. However, the definition of BAT is situation-dependent. If phosphorus is a limiting nutrient in the receiving water, phosphorus removal is added to the BAT requirement. The current BAT standard for phosphorus is based on precipitation and granular-medium filtration.
It is important to note that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has included economic feasibility as a component in determining BAT. Distillation is always a technical possibility that would produce a noncontaminating or polluting discharge, but economic considerations eliminate it from consideration in most cases. Stream water quality standards are set, and wastewater discharges are not allowed to violate these standards. Requirements for was...
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... The water we drink: Water Quality and Its Effects on Health, Rutgers University Press, pgs. 29-35, 1999
Tchobanoglous, G., Schroeder, E., Water Quality: Characteristics, Modeling, Modification, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, pgs. 214-216, 1987
DeZuane, J., Handbook of Drinking Water Quality, International Thompson Publishing, Inc., pgs. 80-85, 1997
Olin, S., Exposure to Contaminants in Drinking Water: Estimating Uptake through the Skin and by Inhalation, CRC Press, pgs. 43-53, 1999
http://www.epa.gov/region3/leaddc.htm., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website. Information on the quality of drinking water is available at this website.
http://www.dcwasa.com, District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority website. Information on the quality of drinking water is available at this website.
- Leonnig, C., Cohn, D., D.C. Lead Issue was Debated for Months: Regional EPA Office Decided No Federal Action Was Needed, Washington Post, March 16, 2004.
- Nakamura, D., WASA Backpedaling Prompts Confusion: D.C. Agency Changed Advice on Flushing Taps, Replacing Pipes, Health Risks, Washington Post, March 16, 2004.
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