Engineering Inc. - March/April 2005 - (Page 27)

ACEC Executive ROUNDTABLE Edited by Melanie D.G. Kaplan Quality, Quantity, Security: Matt Singleton Addressing the Nation's Director of public works Water Supply Future Grapevine, Texas What are the most critical water quality issues facing the industry? Maintaining the integrity of the nation's water supply has never been he most critical water quality T more critical than today. Heavy development in arid regions and ever- issues facing water purveyors, such as cities and regional tightening regulations have put a severe strain on our nation's utilities. water authorities, are complying Bio-terrorism also is a clear and present danger to the water supply. with Safe Drinking Water Act Meanwhile, funding for water management programs has slowed to a and Clean Water Act federal stan- dards. Both acts were promulgated trickle. In the following special Engineering Inc. roundtable, state in the early '70s. Low-hanging fruit municipal water experts and executives from ACEC-member firms already has been picked and the discuss how best to ensure the quantity, quality and security of our more stringent rules affect entities that struggle with compliance with nation's most precious natural resource. little scientific evidence to support the process. The compliance date for the latest round of rule promul- gation is January 2006 for radio- William P. Dee nuclides and arsenic. Regional impacts for the Southwest are great. The EPA reduced the maximum President/CEO Malcolm Pirnie, Inc. contaminant level for arsenic from 50 parts per billion ppb to 10 White Plains, N.Y. ppb. Reducing arsenic levels in What are the most critical water quality issues facing the industry? drinking water could help prevent as many as 31 cases of bladder can- hallenges faced by today's water industry include limited fund- C cer each year, 25 cases of lung can- ing, more stringent standards, new types of pollutants intro- cer and as many as 30 deaths per duced into the nation's water streams, improved analytical meth- year, according to the EPA. But it's ods and population growth in areas with already scarce water supplies. Though the water industry estimated that meeting the arsenic has had great success in protecting public health and the environment in the past, it must evolve to standard could cost the state as meet today's challenges. much as $400 million, and another Wastewater systems must meet increasingly stringent discharge requirements. Total Maximum $50 million for radionuclides. Daily Loads TMDLs that are based on the receiving capacity of the watershed may drive dis- The argument for conducting a charge requirements so low that compliance is not technologically feasible. The recently enacted cost-benefit analysis when dealing National Toxics Rule limits the discharge of heavy metals and trace organics to receiving waters; with public health is a hard sell, but the strict limits will challenge the industry's ability to detect and remove these compounds. in my opinion, utilities are reaching Though very little is known about their fate or occurrence, endocrine disrupting compounds the point of diminishing returns on EDCs that previously went undetected are believed to pose health risks to humans and aquatic the investment needed to comply life. Similarly, new pathogens have emerged that are resistant to today's water treatment tech- with some of niques. The continued evolution of these organisms and the rapid transfer of pathogens through- the new rules. out the world through our global society likely will continue to challenge water systems for the The acts should foreseeable future. Aging infrastructure must be replaced or repaired, and already strained budgets be redrafted to must be stretched to incorporate protection of the industry's assets from intentional damage. reflect the con- The industry must lobby for funding for capital improvements and must develop comprehensive temporary strategies for responding to these challenges to ensure that public health and the environment are understanding protected in the future. These strategies must include learning about the transformation, treatment of water pollu- and fate of emerging chemical and microbial contaminants. And the industry must stay abreast of tion and its emerging technologies such as UV oxidation, microfiltration, reverse osmosis, biological treatment abatement. and sorption and learn to use them to best remove contaminants from the water supply. March l April 2005 ENGINEERING INC. 2 7

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Engineering Inc. - March/April 2005

Table of Contents
From ACEC To You
Ask Members
News & Notes
Market Watch
Legislative Action
COVER STORY: A Perfect Legal Storm
Interview With F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr.
Is There an Engineer in the House
ACEC/PAC Donations Break All-Time Record
ACEC Roundtable
Members In the News
One on One

Engineering Inc. - March/April 2005