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EPA Calls for Stricter Drinking-Water Standards

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning to tighten standards for four water contaminants that can cause cancer as part of a new strategy to toughen drinking-water regulation.

EPA said it will start rulemakings to revise standards for two contaminants used in industrial or textile processing, tetracholorethylene and trichloroethylene, within the year. The EPA will follow that rulemaking by setting stricter standards for epichlorohydrin and acrylamide, which can contaminate drinking water through the water-treatment process.
Speaking at a conference of the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said her agency is now developing a broad new set of strategies to strengthen public health protection from contaminants in drinking water.

“To confront emerging health threats, strained budgets and increased needs—today’s and tomorrow’s drinking water challenges—we must use the law more effectively and promote new technologies,” she said.

Ms. Jackson said the agency would now address contaminants as a group rather than individually, saying the current process is too time-consuming and fails to take advantage of cost-effective programs and technology. She said the EPA would also help to foster new technologies, use existing laws more stringently and partner with states to share data from public-water systems.

The agency is also assessing 14 other contaminants, including law and copper, chromium, fluoride, arsenic, atrazine and perchlorate.

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