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From Source Water to Drinking Water: Workshop Summary
wastewater treatment or wastewater disinfection and of the role of water in transmission of the viruses.
To develop the research agenda to include studies of sources, transport, ambient waters, and groundwaters and to focus on risk outcomes.
To complement in practice two inherently related but often separately administered pieces of legislation namely, the Clean Water Act (CWA), which addresses human health largely through recreational exposure and the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), which addresses human health through exposure to tap water.
The CWA focus has been reactive, with epidemiological data used to set national guidelines, while regulation under the SDWA has established a Maximum Contaminant Level Goal of zero tolerance for pathogens, followed by treatment technology. The SDWA assumes that all waters are at risk, said Rose, and that if we treat the water appropriately, we are going to be safe.
Pathogen monitoring and risk assessment have been done under the CWA, but for ecological end points and not public health. With the SDWA, by contrast, monitoring and risk assessment have been used extensively, and sensitive populations have been included. Neither act has begun regulating emerging pathogens, she noted, although the SDWA has included them on its Contaminant Candidate List for analysis of occurrence and health risk.
The CWA does offer an abundance of watershed tools, however, for examining the effects of combined animal feeding operations, sanitary sewer overflows, combined sewer overflows, and septic tanks on public health. If we focus on the watershed tools that the Clean Water Act provides and continue through the continuum of using a risk assessment approach, together with better monitoring to identify contaminants of concern, we are going to emerge with the ability to put our dollars where we need them, said Rose. We will better protect our waters from the perspective of both the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act and be able to achieve long-term water quality sustainability as well.