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EPA orders Wittmann, Ariz. public water system to monitor drinking water

Release Date: 9/28/2005
Contact Information: Margot Perez-Sullivan, 415/947-4149

SAN FRANCISCO--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered a Wittmann, Ariz. public water system, American Realty & Mortgage Company, to monitor its drinking water for lead, copper, and nitrates and notify customers of its violations of safe drinking water requirements as required by the Safe Drinking Water Act.

American Realty & Mortgage Company, which supplies drinking water to 50 local residents, is required to submit a comprehensive monitoring plan, monitor tap water for lead and copper, and monitor for nitrates--a contaminant that repeatedly exceeded Safe Drinking Water Act standards--quarterly. The order also requires American Realty & Mortgage Company to report sampling data to EPA the state, and provide its customers with an annual Consumer Confident Report.

Failure to comply with the order could result in fines of up to $32,500 per day, per violation.

"It is essential to monitor public drinking water systems to ensure safe drinking water; systems that fail to monitor cannot ensure the safety and quality of our tap water," said Alexis Strauss, water division director for EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. "As protecting public health is our top priority, we will continue to oversee American Realty’s efforts to monitor and supply its users with safe, clean drinking water."

The EPA has required small public water systems to monitor drinking water regularly for contaminants, some of which include lead, copper and nitrates. If contaminants are detected above the drinking water standards systems are required to correct the problem through treatment. EPA realizes the technical and financial challenges facing small water systems and strongly encourages small systems in Arizona to work with the Monitoring Assistance Program, which provides technical expertise and monitoring assistance to small water systems throughout the state.

The EPA has determined that lead, copper and nitrates can pose serious health threats at certain exposure levels. Low levels of lead can cause high blood pressure and kidney problems in adults; in children, lead can delay and inhibit physical and mental development. Exposure to nitrates can cause serious illness or death in infants, and can also cause "blue baby" syndrome.

For more information on the EPA’s drinking water programs, go to: for more information on Arizona’s drinking water programs, go to: