EPA to Revise E. Coli|Testing Standards

     WASHINGTON (CN) – Public water agencies that test for and control E. coli in public drinking water will have to meet new standards for testing and maintenance of their systems under revised rules proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

     The proposed revisions establish a maximum contaminant level goal, and maximum contaminant level, for E. coli, and a standard coliform treatment technique for protection against potential fecal contamination. The maximum goal and level of E. coli are based on the size of the community the water system serves.
     Smaller systems, those below 1,000 users, are only required to monitor their water quarterly. Larger systems, however, must take more frequent samples and the frequency of testing increases if traces of e. coli appear, even if the amount is below the maximum contaminant level. Currently, if a sample is below the maximum contaminant level, follow up tests are not required except as normally scheduled, during which time the contaminant level could have spiked to dangerous levels.
     The agency is required to review and revise each existing national primary drinking water regulation at least once every six years under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
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