PDF _ RS20672 - Arsenic in Drinking Water: Regulatory Developments and Issues
1-Jul-2008; Mary Tiemann; 6 p.

Update: Previous Releases:
May 1, 2007
January 17, 2007
October 5, 2006
April 29, 2002
December 5, 2005
October 20, 2005 (www.ncseonline.org/nle/crsreports/05oct/RS20672.pdf)

Abstract: In 2001, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promulgated a new regulation for arsenic in drinking water, as required by 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments. The rule set the legal limit for arsenic in tap water at 10 parts per billion (ppb), replacing a 50 ppb standard set in 1975, before arsenic was classified as a carcinogen. When issuing the rule, the EPA projected that compliance could be costly for some small systems, but many water utilities and communities expressed concern that the EPA had underestimated the rule’s costs significantly. The arsenic rule was to enter into effect on March 23, 2001, and public water systems were given until January 23, 2006, to comply. Subsequently, the EPA postponed the rule’s effective date to February 22, 2002, to review the science and cost and benefit analyses supporting the rule. After completing the review in October 2001, the EPA affirmed the 10 ppb standard. The new standard became enforceable for water systems in January 2006. Since the rule was completed, Congress and the EPA have focused on how to help communities comply with the new standard. In the past several Congresses, numerous bills have been offered to provide more financial and technical assistance and/or compliance flexibility to small systems; however, none of the bills has been enacted.  [read report]

Topics: Waste Management, Water, Pollution

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