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U.S. EPA ASSESSES PENALTIES AGAINST ARIZONA COMMUNITY WATER SYSTEMS
Release Date: 9/25/2001
Contact Information: Wendy L. Chavez, Press Office, 415/744-1588, firstname.lastname@example.org
Five Small Systems Failed to Comply with Reporting Laws
SAN FRANCISCO The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently assessed penalties of $2,500 to $5,000 to owners and operators of five community water systems for failing to distribute water quality reports to their customers, a violation of the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act right-to-know law.
Twenty-five water systems received warning letters in June 2001 and had 30 days to distribute the report to their customers or face penalties up to $5,000. Five of those water systems did not comply.
"Water systems have a responsibility to their customers to provide information on the safety of their drinking water," said Alexis Strauss, the Water Division director for the EPA's Pacific Southwest office. "The EPA has given more than enough time for these water systems to distribute the report to their customers."
Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections.
The first water quality report summarizing monitoring data collected for 1998 was due in October 1999. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality mailed notices reminding community water systems about the requirement in April 1999 and again in September 1999. In April 2000, the ADEQ sent warning notices to those water systems who had not complied.
In May 2000, the EPA issued 189 administrative orders to water systems that had still not distributed their 1998 reports to their customers. Twenty-five water systems did not comply with the order.
The 1996 right-to-know law requires water systems to give customers an annual report with the following information: information on significant sources of contamination; the likely source of each contaminant; health effects of any contamination; identification of any violations of drinking water regulations; potential health effects and steps taken to correct the violation; type and location of the water source; a table showing contamination detected at the water system; name and phone number of a contact person; and other information.
The following water systems face EPA penalties for failing to distribute their water quality reports:
Water system Ash Creek Water Co. White Mountain Lake Estates Rillito Water Users Assoc. Hidden Valley Farmettes Hacienda Acres Water SystemArea East Central White Mountain Lake Rillito Maricopa Peter's CornerEst. population serving 105 serving 950 serving 213 serving 74 serving 80