WASHINGTON (CN) – New York City and Portland, Ore. are a reluctant step closer to treating their drinking water for microbial contaminants after the Ninth Circuit denied their petition to review water regulations set by the Environmental Protection Agency. They are two of the “rare large cities,” the ruling states, that don’t filter their public drinking water, opting instead to protect the watersheds where their water originates.
The cities also store their water in uncovered reservoirs, exposing it to bird droppings or other small mammals that might be carrying the Cryptosporidium parasite, the ruling states. A cryptosporidiosis outbreak in 1993 in Milwaukee killed 50 people and sickened hundreds more.
Acting under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the EPA adopted regulations requiring cities to treat their water for Cryptosporidium and other contaminants. Portland and New York challenged the EPA’s decision from a variety of angles, but the circuit said their “attacks on this rulemaking are all either inaccurate, irrelevant or both.
“Even if EPA’s cost-benefit analysis, use of science, and responses to comments were as flawed as the cities insist, these errors had no effect on the final rule and were thus harmless,” Judge Tatel wrote. See ruling in Portland v. EPA.