Water Journal : Water Journal August 2012
refereed paper governance water AUGUST 2012 55 Abstract The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG) directs efforts expended by Australian utilities to provide safe, reliable water. It provides guidance in determining the health of supplies, proper treatment for purification and potable needs, and maintenance of water quality through regional and council reticulation schemes. It is also a living document, as evidenced by the recently published revision (NHMRC, NRMMC 2011). Future ADWG revisions are expected to follow patterns similar to other governmental and international guidance and regulatory documents. This manuscript investigates evolutionary changes to non-Australian regulatory practices to help provide an assessment of ADWG's future, and what utilities can do to prepare. Introduction The American Water Works Association (AWWA) was formed in 1881 following the practice of water chlorination in Chicago (Ericson, 1918), Toronto (Adams, 1915) and New Jersey (Baker, 1948), which reduced typhoid fever by more than 95%. Drinking water regulation came soon afterwards, at the time when germ theory was in its infancy. Discoveries linking disease spread via drinking water (Snow, 1855) and functions of basic biological processes (Pasteur, 1939) directly impacted the drinking water profession to protect public health. By discovering these connections in waterborne illness, advances in quantifying dose- response kinetics of many disinfectants (Chick, 1908) and government regulation followed. Regulation quickly became a way to disseminate best practices. It is arguable that these and other advances in water treatment have led to increased public health and overall world population numbers. Figure 1 shows scientific advances in the past 400 years, along with a 10-fold increase in world population (USEPA, 1999; USCB, 2011; ACC, 2012). Although other advances, such as in sanitary engineering, have supported increased population, the availability of safe drinking water is thought of as saving and improving more lives than physicians. Drinking water quality has, therefore, been and is expected to continue to be, a highly regulated area. Since the early 1900s, a link has been established between science and technology and development of government regulation and guidance for drinking water quality and treatment. This link is exemplified by the regulatory environment in various jurisdictions across the globe. This section reviews various regulatory and water quality histories. Regulations Background North America The first US city to pump surface water through distribution pipes was the City of Philadelphia in 1799. By 1860, there were more than 400 water systems, with that number surpassing 3,000 by 1900. AWWA was formed by 22 water treatment professionals and quickly grew to be a technical communication platform for drinking water in the US and Canada. The impetus for an AWWA was based upon correlations between chlorinated reticulation systems and improved public health. AWWA has since been the North American venue for workshops and conferences discussing water treatment and disinfection practices as well as a public voice in regards to drinking water safety. AWWA advocated passage of the very first US drinking water regulation banning use of common drinking water cups aboard interstate train service (Hoffbuhr, 2006). In general, Health Canada embraces US regulation, making slight changes before transitioning it to provincial law and guidance. Therefore, for the purposes of brevity, only US standards are presented here. A list of significant historical impacts on the US drinking water industry is presented in Table 1. By the mid- 1900s, drinking water regulation was commonplace with US reticulation systems. These systems were also A Mofidi, P Hillis, J Evans What future ADWG revisions may be anticipated? COMPARING INTERNATIONAL WATER REGULATIONS Table 1. Historical regulatory-related events in the US drinking water industry. Year Purpose or Impact of Regulation 1893 Interstate Quarantine Act (IQA) (USPHS*) 1912 Banned common water cups on trains** 1914 <2 coliform/100 ml on trains** 1925 Water softening (lead, copper, zinc) and <1 coliform/100ml for municipalities 1946 Increased bacteria monitoring requirements 1962 Monitoring for various chemicals 1970† Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) (USEPA) 1974 Standards for systems >25 persons become legally binding 1975†† Disinfection by-products (trihalomethanes) 1986, 1989 The Surface Water Treatment Rule (SWTR) (USEPA, 1989): Filtration, long-term health goals & maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) 1991 Yearly average DBPs across retic system, treatment techniques required for enhanced removal of organics/DBP precursors. 1996 Increased pathogen removal, inactivation 2002 Yearly average DBPs at worst-case locations 2006 Cryptosporidium treatment regulation put in place due to massive 1993 outbreak. * IQA formed the US Public Health Service (USPHS). ** This was later extended to buses and planes. † SDWA formed the USEPA. †† Disinfection by-product (DBP) regulations were amended with increased stringency in 1976, 1979 and 1980. Figure 1. World population and historical drinking water treatment markers.
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