Appendix A
PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY DISTRIBUTION SYSTEMS: ASSESSING AND REDUCING RISKS
FIRST REPORT

Committee on Public Water Supply Distribution Systems: Assessing and Reducing Risks

Water Science and Technology Board

Division on Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C.

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Drinking Water Distribution Systems: Assessing and Reducing Risks Appendix A PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY DISTRIBUTION SYSTEMS: ASSESSING AND REDUCING RISKS FIRST REPORT Committee on Public Water Supply Distribution Systems: Assessing and Reducing Risks Water Science and Technology Board Division on Earth and Life Studies NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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Drinking Water Distribution Systems: Assessing and Reducing Risks 1 Introduction The distribution systems of public drinking water supplies include the pipes and other conveyances that connect treatment plants to consumers’ taps. They span almost 1 billion miles in the United States (Kirmeyer et al., 1994) and include an estimated 154,000 finished water storage facilities (AWWA, 2003). Public water supplies serve 273 million residential and commercial customers, although the vast majority (93 percent) of systems serves less than 10,000 people (EPA, 2004). As the U.S. population grows and communities expand, 13,200 miles of new pipes are installed each year (Kirmeyer et al., 1994). Distribution systems constitute a significant management challenge from both an operational and public health standpoint. Furthermore, they represent the vast majority of physical infrastructure for water supplies, such that their repair and replacement represent an enormous financial liability. The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates the 20-year water transmission and distribution needs of the country to be $83.2 billion, with storage facility infrastructure needs estimated at $18.4 billion (EPA, 1999). Most federal water quality regulations pertaining to drinking water, such as Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) and treatment technique requirements for microbial and chemical contaminants, are applied before or at the point where water enters the distribution system. The major rules that specifically target water quality within the distribution system are the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR), the Surface Water Treatment Rule (SWTR), which addresses the minimum required detectable disinfectant residual and the maximum allowed heterotrophic bacterial plate count, and the Total Coliform Rule. In addition, the Disinfectants/Disinfection By-Products Rule (D/DBPR) addresses the maximum disinfectant residual and concentration of disinfection byproducts like total trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids allowed in distribution systems. Of all these rules, the Total Coliform Rule (TCR) of 1989 explicitly addresses microbial water quality in the distribution system. The TCR applies to all public water supplies, both groundwater and surface water, and established (among other things) an MCL of less than 5 percent of water samples testing positive for total coliforms in any month for systems serving more than 33,000, and that there be no more than one positive sample per month for systems serving less than 33,000 (Guilaran, 2004). Sampling of distribution systems for total coliforms varies widely, from as many as hundreds of samples per month to one sample

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Drinking Water Distribution Systems: Assessing and Reducing Risks per year, depending on the size and type of system. Most contaminants that have the potential to contaminate the distribution system are not monitored for in the distribution system. Therefore, contamination of the distribution system will typically be detected by only other means (e.g., taste and odor complaints). This and other information gathered since the rule was first promulgated suggest that the TCR maybe limited in its ability to ensure public health protection from microbial contamination of distribution systems. Monitoring required under the TCR does not include monitoring for chemical contaminants. Indeed, some epidemiological and outbreak investigations conducted in the last five years suggest that a substantial proportion of waterborne disease outbreaks, both microbial and chemical, is attributable to problems within distribution systems (Craun and Calderon, 2001; Blackburn et al., 2004). Distribution system deficiencies were pinpointed as the cause of 57 reported community outbreaks from 1991 to 1998 (EPA, 2002b). Since chemically-related waterborne illnesses typically result from long-term exposures to chemicals, waterborne outbreak surveillance systems, which focus on acute exposures to contamination, do not capture the scope of illness resulting from chemical contamination of water. Epidemiology studies on chemical exposures in drinking water are also more difficult, since a long-term study is required for long-term exposures and a variety of other sources of exposure may influence the outcomes. There is no evidence that the current regulatory program has resulted in a diminution in the proportion of outbreaks attributable to distribution system related factors. In 2000, the Federal Advisory Committee for the Microbial/Disinfection By-products Rule (M/DBPR) recommended that EPA evaluate available data and research on aspects of distribution systems that may create risks to public health. Furthermore, in 2003 EPA committed to revising the TCR—not only to consider updating the provisions about the frequency and location of monitoring, follow-up monitoring after total coliform positive samples, and the basis of the MCL, but also to consider addressing the broader issue of whether the TCR could be revised to encompass “distribution system integrity.” That is, EPA is exploring the possibility of revising the TCR to provide a comprehensive approach for addressing water quality in the distribution system environment. To aid in this process, EPA requested the input of the National Academies’ Water Science and Technology Board, which was asked to conduct a study of water quality issues associated with public water supply distribution systems and their potential risks to consumers. The expert committee formed to conduct the study will consider, but not be limited to, specific aspects of distribution systems such as cross connections and backflow, intrusion caused by pressure transients, nitrification, permeation and leaching, repair and replacement of water mains, aging infrastructure, and microbial growth. The committee’s statement of task is to: —Identify trends relevant to the deterioration of drinking water in water supply distribution systems, as background and based on available information.

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Drinking Water Distribution Systems: Assessing and Reducing Risks —Identify and prioritize issues of greatest concern for distribution systems based on review of published material. —Focusing on the highest priority issues as revealed by task #2, (a) evaluate different approaches for characterization of public health risks posed by water-quality deteriorating events or conditions that may occur in public water supply distribution systems; and (b) identify and evaluate the effectiveness of relevant existing codes and regulations and identify general actions, strategies, performance measures, and policies that could be considered by water utilities and other stakeholders to reduce the risks posed by water-quality deteriorating events or conditions. Case studies, either at state or utility level, where distribution system control programs (e.g., Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point System, cross connection control, etc.) have been successfully designed and implemented will be identified and recommendations will be presented in their context. —Identify advances in detection, monitoring and modeling, analytical methods, information needs and technologies, research and development opportunities, and communication strategies that will enable the water supply industry and other stakeholders to further reduce risks associated with public water supply distribution systems. This first report relates the committee’s progress on Tasks 1 and 2—that is, trends relevant to the deterioration of distribution system water quality and the issues that the committee thinks are the highest priorities for consideration during TCR revision to encompass distribution system integrity. Conclusions and recommendations related to distribution system issues that EPA may want to take into consideration are sprinkled throughout the text, and a short summary of the committee’s prioritization is given at the end.

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Drinking Water Distribution Systems: Assessing and Reducing Risks 2 Trends Relevant to the Deterioration of Drinking Water in Distribution Systems In the past two decades, a number of changes have occurred that may affect the quality of drinking water in distribution systems, consumer exposure to tap water, and the consequent risks of exposure. This section discusses trends in pipe age in water distribution systems and pipe replacement rates, waterborne disease outbreaks, host susceptibility in the U.S. population, consumer use of bottled water, and installation of home water treatment devices. This is not a comprehensive list of all the factors that may affect water quality and health risks from distributions systems. Furthermore, for many of these factors, there are limited data on recent trends such that additional research is needed to better understand current practices. DISTRIBUTION PIPE AGE AND REPLACEMENT RATES There is a large range in the type and age of the pipes that make up American water distribution systems, depending on the population and economic booms of the previous century. For many cities, the periods of greatest population growth and urban expansion were during the late 1800s, around World War I, during the 1920s, and post-World War II. The water pipes installed during these growth periods differ in their manufacture, materials, and life span. The oldest cast iron pipes from the late 19th century are typically described as having an average useful lifespan of about 120 years because of the pipe wall thickness (AWWA, 2001; AWWSC, 2002). In the 1920s the manufacture of iron pipes changed to improve pipe strength, but the changes also produced a thinner wall. These pipes have an average life of about 100 years. Pipe manufacturing continued to evolve in the 1950s and 1960s with the introduction of ductile iron pipe that is stronger than cast iron and more resistant to corrosion. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes were introduced in the 1970s and high-density polyethylene in the 1990s. Both of these are very resistant to corrosion but they do not have the strength of ductile iron. Post-World War II pipes tend to have an average life of 75 years (AWWA, 2001; AWWSC, 2002). Approximately 20 percent of the pipe in place in North America is lined with asbestos or cement. Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of ductile iron pipe is mortar-lined and about 40 percent of cast iron pipe in place is mortar-lined. These facts may be

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Drinking Water Distribution Systems: Assessing and Reducing Risks of great importance where the life of pipe is concerned, as linings are meant to prevent corrosion and increase pipe longevity. In the 20th century, most of the water systems and distribution pipes were relatively new and well within their expected lifespan. However, a recent report by the American Water Works Association (AWWA, 2001) and a white paper by the American Water Works Service Company, Inc. (AWWSC, 2002) point out that these different types of pipes, installed during different time periods, will all be reaching the end of their expected life spans in the next 30 years. Analysis of main breaks at one large Midwestern water utility that kept careful records of distribution system management documented a sharp increase in the annual number of main breaks from 1970 (approximately 250 breaks per year) to 1989 (approximately 2,200 breaks per year) (AWWSC, 2002). Thus, the water industry is entering an era where it must make substantial investments in pipe repair and pipe replacement. An EPA report on water infrastructure needs (EPA, 2002c) predicted that transmission and distribution replacement rates will need to be around 0.3 percent per year in 2005 and will rise to 2.0 percent per year by 2040 in order to adequately maintain the water infrastructure (see Figure 1). Cost estimates for drinking water infrastructure range from $4.2 to $6.3 billion per year (AWWSC, 2002). The trends of aging pipe and increasing numbers of main breaks are of concern because of the potential relationship between waterborne disease outbreaks and main breaks (see the subsequent section on New and Repaired Water Mains). FIGURE 1 Projected annual replacement needs for transmission lines and distribution mains, 2000–2075. SOURCE: EPA (2002c).

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Drinking Water Distribution Systems: Assessing and Reducing Risks WATERBORNE DISEASE OUTBREAKS A voluntary, passive surveillance system for waterborne disease outbreaks in the U.S. has been maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in collaboration with EPA since 1971. Summary reports from this surveillance system are published every two years and describe the number of outbreaks, where they occurred, the etiologic agents, type of water systems involved, and factors that contributed to the outbreak. While the current waterborne disease surveillance summary states that the data are useful “for identifying major deficiencies in providing safe drinking water” (Blackburn et al., 2004), caution in the interpretation of these data is important, in that the proportion of outbreaks reported may vary with time, location, and the size of the water supply. With this caveat in mind, analyses of the data from this surveillance system indicate that the total number of reported waterborne disease outbreaks has decreased since 1980. However, the proportion of waterborne disease outbreaks associated with problems in the distribution system is increasing (see Figure 2). Craun and Calderon (2001) examined causes of reported waterborne outbreaks from 19711998 and noted that in community water systems, 30 percent of 294 outbreaks were associated with distribution system deficiencies. From 1999 to 2002, there have been 18 reported outbreaks in community FIGURE 2 Waterborne disease outbreaks in community water systems (CWS) associated with distribution system deficiencies. Note that the majority of the reported outbreaks have been in small community systems and that the absolute numbers of outbreaks have decreased since 1982. SOURCE: Data extracted from Craun and Calderon (2001) and MMWR summary reports on waterborne disease surveillance (Lee et al., 2002 and Blackburn et al., 2004).

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Drinking Water Distribution Systems: Assessing and Reducing Risks water systems, and nine (50 percent) of these were related to problems in the water distribution system (Lee et al., 2002, Blackburn et al., 2004). The decrease in numbers of water-borne disease outbreaks per year is important and probably attributable to improved water treatment practices and SWTR compliance that reduced the risk from waterborne protozoa (Pierson et al., 2001; Blackburn et al., 2004). The increase in the percentage of outbreaks attributable to the distribution system is probably also due to this factor (i.e., the SWTR); regulations for distribution systems have not been as extensive (other than the Lead and Copper Rule). Most reported outbreaks associated with distribution systems occur in community water systems because of their greater size and complexity, but there have been a number of outbreaks associated with noncommunity water systems that have been attributed to deficiencies in the distribution system. Craun and Calderon (2001) reported that most distribution system-related outbreaks were linked to cross-connections and backsiphonage and most of the rest were attributed to main breaks or repair and contamination of municipal water storage tanks. The magnitude and severity of outbreaks associated with distribution systems vary, with an average of 186 illnesses per outbreak (Craun and Calderon, 2001) and a total of 13 deaths. These outbreaks have been associated with chemical (copper, chlordane, ethylene glycol and others) and microbial contaminants, including enteric protozoa (Giardia, Cyclospora), enteric bacteria (Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, and E. coli O157:H7) and enteric viruses (noroviruses and Hepatitis A virus). It should be noted that endemic waterborne infection and illness may be associated with contaminants entering the distribution system. If low levels of contaminants enter the system and affect small numbers of persons, it might not be recognized and investigated as an outbreak. Indeed, it has been acknowledged that a fairly sizable number of cases of cryptosporidiosis could be occurring in a large city such as New York City without detection of a possible outbreak (NRC, 1999, page 249). Thus, not only are all waterborne disease outbreaks not detected, even those that are detected and reported will not address possible endemic illness risks. It is noted that consumer confidence and legal liability may create a disincentive to report outbreaks and even water quality problems. A number of sources show that endemic risks can be greater than epidemics, for example, Frost et al., (1996) and Payment and Hunter (2001). The CDC and EPA have recently completed a series of epidemiologic studies designed to assess the magnitude of endemic waterborne illness associated with consumption of municipal drinking water; a joint report on the results of these studies is forthcoming (Blackburn et al., 2004). CHANGES IN THE UNITED STATES POPULATION Another cause for concern regarding the risks of waterborne disease transmission is increasing host susceptibility to infection and disease in the U.S.

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Drinking Water Distribution Systems: Assessing and Reducing Risks population. Due to weaker immune systems, older Americans are at increased risk for morbidity and mortality from a number of infectious diseases, including influenza, pneumonia, and enteric diseases (Gerba et al., 1996). Decreased gastric acid secretion in the elderly may also result in increased susceptibility to infection from acid-sensitive enteric organisms (Morris and Potter, 1997). The U.S. population older than 74 years of age has increased from 13.1 million in 1990 to 16.6 million in 2000. The most rapid growth during this decade occurred in the size of the oldest age groups with a 38 percent increase in the population greater than 85 years of age. In 2003, more than 12 percent of the total U.S. population was 65 and older, and this proportion will increase dramatically between 2010 and 2030 as the “baby boomers” start turning 65 in 2011. By 2030, nearly 20 percent of the total U.S. population will be over 65 years of age, and the population over 85 years of age will have grown rapidly (Older Americans, 2004). The numbers of immunocompromised persons in the U.S. due to disease and immunosuppressive therapy is also increasing. Of particular note are growing numbers of AIDS patients, cancer survivors, and organ transplant patients. The number of new AIDS cases reported in the U.S. has increased more than five-fold from 8,131 in 1985 to 44,232 in 2003. Because of more effective treatments, AIDS patients are living longer but are still at increased risk of enteric infections. Cancer patients and transplant patients often require immunosuppressive therapy that puts them at greater risk of infection during the course of their treatment. The CDC estimates that the number of persons living with cancer more than tripled from 3.0 million in 1971 (1.5 percent of the U.S. population) to 9.8 million in 2001 (3.5 percent of the population) (CDC, 2004). The number of organ transplants performed each year in the U.S. has almost doubled from 12,619 in 1988 to more than 22,554 in 2004 (Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. Available on-line at http://www.optn.org/latestData/rptData.asp. Accessed February 6, 2005). USE OF BOTTLED WATER AND HOUSEHOLD WATER TREATMENT DEVICES There has been a dramatic increase in the proportion of the U.S. population that drinks bottled water or uses some type of water treatment device in their homes. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reported in 1999 that more than half of all Americans drink bottled water and about one third of the population regularly drink bottled water. The sales of bottled water tripled between 1986 and 1997 and reached about $4 billion per year (NRDC, 1999). The International Bottled Water Association reported a 10.1 percent growth in sales between 1997 and 1998 (Available on-line at http://www.bottledwater.org/public/pressrel.htm. Accessed March 16, 2005). The cost of bottled water ranges from 240 to over 10,000 times more per gallon than tap water, and yet

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Drinking Water Distribution Systems: Assessing and Reducing Risks bottled water use is not limited to high-income households. One study reported that “Black, Asian, and Hispanic households are more likely than whites to use bottled water” despite lower household incomes (Mogelonsky, quoted in NRDC, 1999). The use of home water treatment devices has also risen steadily from 32 percent in 1997 to 38 percent in 1999 to 41 percent in 2001 (WQA, 2001). As discussed in a subsequent section, these devices can support the regrowth of microbes, such that their use is not necessarily correlated with a decrease in contaminant exposure. Several consumer surveys and studies have attempted to determine the driving forces behind these trends and have reported that perceived safety and health, taste of tap water, and concern about some contaminants are the most frequently reported reasons people drink bottled water instead of tap water (NRDC, 1999; Anadu and Harding, 2000; WQA, 2001; Mackey et al., 2003). Although these trends are occurring, the health implications of these trends are unknown. *** Taken together, the trends data suggest that water distribution system infrastructure in the U.S. is deteriorating and that health risks associated with distribution system water quality may be increasing. Although the proportion of the U.S. population that may be more susceptible to waterborne disease is growing, fewer Americans are drinking tap water. These trends need to be investigated to determine if they are important factors that should be taken into account when developing a distribution system rule.

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Drinking Water Distribution Systems: Assessing and Reducing Risks 3 Highest Priority Issues The second major task of the committee was to identify the highest priority issues for consideration during TCR revision to encompass distribution system integrity. The issues considered for prioritization stem directly from nine white papers prepared by EPA, AWWA, and the AWWSCo. based on a series of expert and stakeholder workshops from 2000 to 2003. The nine white papers focused on the following events or conditions that can bring about water quality degradation in public water supply distribution systems: Cross-Connections and Backflow (EPA, 2002b) Intrusion of Contaminants from Pressure Transients (LeChevallier et al., 2002) Nitrification (AWWA and EES, Inc., 2002e) Permeation and Leaching (AWWA and EES, Inc., 2002a) Microbial Growth and Biofilms (EPA, 2002d) New or Repaired Water Mains (AWWA and EES, Inc., 2002e) Finished Water Storage Facilities (AWWA and EES, Inc., 2002c) Water Age (AWWA and EES, Inc., 2002b) Deteriorating Buried Infrastructure (AWWSC, 2002) In addition to these papers, the committee considered the summary of the Distribution System Exposure Assessment Workshop (ICF Consulting, Inc., 2004), held in Washington, DC in March, 2004, which attempted to collate all of the information gathered in the previous workshops. Additional white papers are currently being written on the following topics, but were not available to the committee in time to be considered for this first report: Indicators of Drinking Water Quality Evaluation of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points Causes of Total Coliform Positives and Contamination Events Inorganic Contaminant Accumulation Distribution System Inventory and Condition Assessment. Some qualitative outcomes of the many workshops, as communicated by EPA officials, are that there are demonstrated adverse health effects and large poten-

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Drinking Water Distribution Systems: Assessing and Reducing Risks currently believed that leaching is a relatively low priority relative to other distribution system problems. ADDITIONAL ISSUES OF CONCERN Control of Post Precipitation Control of post precipitation in distribution systems is an important part of any program to control the quality of water in distribution systems. Post precipitation can result from introduction of water to distribution systems that is super-saturated with calcium carbonate, from introduction of a phosphate corrosion inhibitor into the filter effluent of an alum coagulation plant creating an aluminum phosphate precipitate, from water that is supersaturated with aluminum hydroxide, from water that is supersaturated with selected silicate minerals, as well as other causes. Post-precipitation causes an increase in pipe roughness and a decrease in effective pipe diameter, resulting in loss of hydraulic capacity accompanied by an increase in energy required to distribute water, in production of biofilms, and in deterioration of the aesthetic quality of tap water. If the material is loosely attached to the pipe wall, such as some aluminum precipitates, hydraulic surges can result in substantial increases in the turbidity of tap water. Treatment of water to avoid excessive post-precipitation thus is an important asset management issue. It is not amenable to regulation, but it is an important part of the guidance that should accompany distribution system regulations.

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Drinking Water Distribution Systems: Assessing and Reducing Risks 6 Summary The purpose of this report was to review published material in order to identify trends relevant to the deterioration of drinking water quality in water supply distribution systems and to identify and prioritize issues of greatest concern. The trends relevant to the deterioration of drinking water quality in distribution systems include: Aging distribution systems. Increasing numbers of main breaks and pipe replacement activities are a possibility as systems age, depending on the pipe materials and linings used, the water quality, and system operation and maintenance practices. Decreasing numbers of waterborne outbreaks reported per year since 1982, but an increasing percentage attributable to distribution system issues. This trend is probably is related to better treatment of surface water. Increasing host susceptibility to infection and disease in the U.S. population. This trend is caused by aging of the U. S. population, the increase in the incidence of AIDS, and the increasing use of immunosuppressive therapy. Increasing use of bottled water and point of use treatment devices. This trend suggests that exposure to tap water on a per capita basis may be decreasing. However, it should be kept in mind that point-of-use devices can support microbial regrowth. The issues from the nine white papers have been prioritized using categories of highest, medium, and lower priority. The committee also identified a number of additional issues not addressed in previous reports. The highest priority issues are those that have a recognized health risk based on clear epidemiological and surveillance data. Cross connections and backflow. Cross connections and backflow events are ranked as the highest priority because of the long history of recognized health risks posed by cross connections, the clear epidemiological and surveillance data implicating these events with outbreaks or sporadic cases of waterborne disease, and the availability of proven technologies to prevent cross connections.

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Drinking Water Distribution Systems: Assessing and Reducing Risks Contamination during installation, rehabilitation, and repair of water mains and appurtenances. Chemical and microbial contamination of distribution system materials and drinking water during mains breaks and during the installation, rehabilitation, and repair of water mains and appurtenances is a high priority issue because there have been many documented instances of significant health impacts from drinking water contamination associated with pipe failures and maintenance activities. Improperly maintained and operated distribution system storage facilities. Several documented waterborne disease outbreaks and the potential for contamination due to the large number of these facilities makes this a high priority distribution system water quality maintenance and protection issue. Control of water quality in premise plumbing. Virtually every problem identified in potable water transmission systems can also occur in premise plumbing, and some are magnified because of premise plumbing characteristics and the way in which water is used in residences. Health risks associated with premise plumbing are hard to assess because the majority of health problems are likely to be sporadic, unreported cases of waterborne disease that affect single households. Waterborne disease outbreaks due to premise plumbing failures in residential buildings have been documented. Distribution system operator training. Training of drinking water distribution system operators traditionally has focused on issues related to the mechanical aspects of water delivery (pumps and valves) and safety. System operators are also responsible for ensuring that conveyance of the water does not allow degradation of water quality, and it is important that they receive adequate training to meet this responsibility. Medium priority issues are those where existing data suggest that the health risks are low or limited to sensitive populations. Issues where there were insufficient data to determine the magnitude of the health risk were also classified as medium priority. Biofilm Growth. Although biofilms are widespread in distribution systems, the public health risk from this source of exposure appears to be limited to opportunistic pathogens that may cause disease in the immunocompromised population. Some data suggest that biofilms may protect microbial pathogens from disinfection, but there are few studies directly linking health effects to biofilms. Loss of Disinfectant Residual. The loss of disinfectant residual caused by increased water age and nitrification is considered a medium priority

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Drinking Water Distribution Systems: Assessing and Reducing Risks concern because it is an indirect health impact that compromises the biological integrity of the system and promotes microbial regrowth. Intrusion. Intrusion from pressure transients is a subset of the cross-connection and backflow issue. It has associated health risks, and is therefore an important distribution system water quality maintenance and protection issue. There are insufficient data to indicate whether it is a substantial health risk, however. Lower priority issues are those that are already covered by current regulations, well-managed in the majority of water distribution systems, or unlikely to pose a health risk. Other Effects of Water Age. The quality of distributed water, in particular water age, also has indirect effects such as (1) DBP formation in distribution systems with increasing water age that might cause the MCLs for these substances to be exceeded and (2) enhanced corrosion and the release of metals from corrosion scales. DBPs and common corrosion products are covered by the D/DBPR and the LCR, respectively. Nitrification. Nitrification that results in (1) the formation of nitrite and nitrate in quantities that cause the MCLs for these substances to be exceeded or (2) the release of excessive concentrations of metal ions should be avoided. However, the formation of nitrate and nitrite is considered a relatively low risk for distribution systems compared to the other concerns mentioned in this report. Permeation. Permeation of chemicals through plastic pipe can occur, but the potential health impacts are low and distribution systems can best be protected through measures that minimize the conditions under which permeation can occur. Leaching. Excessive leaching of organic substances from pipe materials, linings, joining and sealing materials, coatings, and cement mortar pipe have occasionally been noted in the literature. Leaching is a relatively low priority relative to other distribution system problems and can be controlled by regulating the materials that are used in distribution and premise plumbing systems, by specifying the water chemistry that must be used if certain materials are to be employed, and by appropriate monitoring requirements. Post-precipitation. An additional issue of lower priority is the control of post-precipitation, which causes an increase in pipe roughness and a decrease in effective pipe diameter, resulting in loss of hydraulic capacity accompanied by an increase in the energy required to distribute water, in the production of biofilms, and in the deterioration of tap water’s aesthetic quality.

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Drinking Water Distribution Systems: Assessing and Reducing Risks Deteriorating infrastructure was not included as one of the issues that the committee prioritized because it is the ultimate cause of many of the other events that are discussed in this report, such as: water main breaks and contamination that results during their repair, contamination from decaying storage structures and their inadequate maintenance, intrusion and water loss, occurrence of excessive biofilms and nitrification, system design and operation practices that cause the water quality to degrade, and excessive deposits from corrosion and post-precipitation. Solutions to problems caused by deteriorating infrastructure are thus expected to be applicable to most of the problems already discussed in this report. It should be noted that the rate of degradation of distribution system materials will vary from system to system depending on water quality and system operation and maintenance practices, such that the relationship between the age of a given system, its state of deterioration, and risk cannot be easily predicted. Confronting deteriorating infrastructure requires good asset management, including procedures to monitor and assess the condition of the distribution system and water quality changes that occur during distribution. Furthermore, appropriate maintenance, repair, and replacement should be carried out as needed, and operating and capital budgets should be available to finance this work.

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