5092.0 Drinking Water: How Safe is Safe Enough?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 10:30 AM
Drinking water quality continually improves in the developed world. Infectious disease rates associated with drinking water account for minimal morbidity and mortality. Improvements in water treatment allow water utilities to treat for many chemical contaminants, such as arsenic or pesticides. Similar improvements in wastewater treatment are reducing the amount of contaminants released into the environment. This is reflected in the name of the law that governs drinking water in the U.S. – The Safe Drinking Water Act. At the same time the water sector progresses on drinking water treatment, the complexity of the idea of safe is evolving. Recognition of susceptible populations, from children, to the elderly, to individuals with specific health conditions, by the water and health communities denotes that not all water is safe for all people at all times. The ability to detect emerging and other contaminants, such as pharmaceuticals, at very low levels without knowing the public health implications furthers the ambiguity in defining “safe” in terms of drinking water. The water and public health sectors struggle in communicating safe to the public, and defining safe for regulatory and treatment purposes. Advances in water treatment, such as UV, give utilities the ability to provide exceptionally high quality water. However, the cost of this treatment is also exceptionally high, not only in terms of rates, but in terms of energy use and water loss. This session present the policy, risk communication public health and operational points essential for discussions on the future of safe water. Suggested speakers: Lisa Ragain, Moderator Alan Roberson – AWWA Gvt. Affairs Mark Le Chevallier, American Water Utility Water quality person
Session Objectives: Objectives not included.

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Organized by: APHA-Special Sessions
Endorsed by: Environment

CE Credits: Medical (CME), Health Education (CHES), Nursing (CNE), Public Health (CPH)

See more of: APHA-Special Sessions