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Posted: Nov 09, 2010
EPA urges Americans to consider using 'final barrier' water filtration in their homes
(Nanowerk News) A new report from the inspector general of the U.S. EPA on the lack of sufficient monitoring of water supplies provides more reason for Americans to consider using "final barrier" technology in their homes, according to the Water Quality Association.
The EPA is stating that state officials need to conduct more rigorous testing of water supplies and that in particular there is no way to determine whether emergency supplies are contaminated, the Chicago Tribune reported recently.
"This report is one more piece of evidence to consumers that in-home technology should be utilized as a final barrier to contamination," said Peter J. Censky, executive director of WQA.
Final barrier technology refers to devices and systems installed at the point of water use. These include activated carbon, ion exchange resins, membranes (reverse osmosis, nano-filtration, and ultra- and micro- filtration), and selective media such as arsenic removal, ozone, distillation, etc.
Final barrier technology provides an effective and cost-efficient way to treat water, Censky said. He noted that only about 1% of centrally treated water is consumed by people.
At the same time science and technology is constantly discovering more potential contaminants in the water – such as pharmaceuticals and endocrine disrupters – including, at times, in water that has been centrally treated. Final barrier treatment can stop many elements that come into the home, even after water has been centrally treated.
According to the Tribune, "There is no way to determine if emergency water supplies that serve more than 58 million people are contaminated or being misused. Oversight is based on trust, rather than routine inspections, the inspector general concluded."
Lax oversight is a problem throughout the nation, the EPA report states, adding that it urges federal and state officials "to conduct more rigorous inspections and adopt tighter reporting guidelines."
In Crestwood, Illinois, it took state officials years to determine that contaminated water was being pumped to residents. Federal law doesn't require the U.S. EPA or states to monitor emergency wells like the one in Crestwood. As a result, neither the federal agency nor states can determine if other communities face health risks from the improper use of contaminated water supplies.
Nationwide, more than 6,700 water systems maintain emergency supplies.