by Simon Barcham Green with assistance from Dr. Robert Keirle
Published in Summer 2018 issue of Hand Papermaking magazine
Some notes by Dr. Robert Keirle on the complexity of US-EPA water regulations:
From: Robert Keirle Sent: 05 September 2017 23:30
To: Simon Green Subject: RE: water quality information
You’re right about the situation in the USA being complicated. When I was with a UK water and environmental consultancy a couple of years ago, one of the projects I was working on involved contacting all 50 States to determine what their approach was to drinking water quality. Even now I don’t think I fully grasped the situation! Just for your interest (and maybe the information could be useful for your paper), the following quotes are taken from the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website:
- The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) is the federal law that protects public drinking water supplies throughout the nation. Under the SDWA, the EPA sets standards for drinking water quality and with its partners implements various technical and financial programs to ensure drinking water safety.
- The EPA identifies contaminants to regulate in drinking water to protect public health. The Agency sets regulatory limits for the amounts of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. These contaminant standards are required by the SDWA. The EPA works with states, tribes, and many other partners to implement these SDWA provisions.
- The National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWR) are legally enforceable primary standards and treatment techniques that apply to public water systems. Primary standards and treatment techniques protect public health by limiting the levels of contaminants in drinking water.
- The EPA has established National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWRs) that set mandatory water quality standards for drinking water contaminants. These are enforceable standards called “maximum contaminant levels” (MCLs) which are established to protect the public against consumption of drinking water contaminants that present a risk to human health. An MCL is the maximum allowable amount of a contaminant in drinking water which is delivered to the consumer. In addition, the EPA has established National Secondary Drinking Water Regulations (NSDWRs) that set non-mandatory water quality standards for 15 contaminants. The EPA does not enforce these “secondary maximum contaminant levels” (SMCLs). They are established as guidelines to assist public water systems in managing their drinking water for aesthetic considerations, such as taste, color, and odor. These contaminants are not considered to present a risk to human health at the SMCL.
It’s interesting to note that “although state health agencies and public water systems often decide to monitor and treat their supplies for secondary contaminants, federal regulations do not require them to do this”, despite the fact that many of the parameters could have an adverse impact on papermaking.
This paper gives a good insight with some of the things that can readily go wrong with paper that may be attributable to metal contamination:
Sarah Bertalan, c Condition Problems in Modern Papers and the Role of Inorganic Additives.” American Institute of Conservation: The Book and Paper Group Annual 34 (2015).
Water requirements of the pulp and paper industry, by O.D. Mussey. U.S. Government Printing Office: 1955
Iron in water and processes for its removal. By John F. McPeak and Harold L. Aronovitch Hungerford & Terry, Inc., Clayton, N.J. 08312 21st Annual Liberty Bell Corrosion Course September 22, 1983 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Copper in drinking water – Government of Western Australia Department of Health