Fit to Drink

by John Prendergast, Managing Editor; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1993, Vol. 63, Issue 5, Pg. 52-55

Document Type: Feature article


Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SWDA) in 1986 greatly expanded the number of contaminants subject to regulation and significantly beefed up water quality treatment and monitoring requirements, leading to a slew of new regulations from EPA that are gradually being implemented. These new regulations will add billions to the cost of water treatment. While water systems of all sizes will be squeezed by the new requirements, small systems are especially ill-equipped to take on the added burdens. With fewer people to absorb charges, raising rates enough to pay for new needs is difficult—and many small systems serve low-income rural populations. Owners of these systems also typically lack the expertise needed to operate and maintain treatment systems and follow through on monitoring requirements. Many don't know where to find information on regulatory requirements or financing system upgrades, either. The article describes the problems facing small systems and some efforts to assist them by identifying and demonstrating alternative low-cost technologies, improving access to information, and streamlining state design review processes.

Subject Headings: Water quality | Safety | Drinking water | Pollutants | Environmental Protection Agency | Economic factors | Rural areas | Population projection

Services: Buy this book/Buy this article


Return to search