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U.S. EPA orders Chandler, Ariz. subdivision to monitor drinking water

Release Date: 10/17/2005
Contact Information: Margot Perez-Sullivan 415/947.4149

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered the Alma Ranchettes Cooperative, a Chandler subdivision, to monitor its drinking water for lead, copper, arsenic and nitrates, amongst other contaminants, as required by the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The Alma Ranchettes Cooperative Water System, which serves 32 residents and co-owners, is required to submit a water sampling plan within 30 days and begin sampling water for contaminants within 60 days and every month thereafter. The order also requires the Alma Ranchettes Cooperative to hire a certified operator to run the system and report sampling data to residents and the State.

Failure to monitor could result in fines of up to $27,500 per day.

"Public drinking water systems are responsible for the quality of our tap water; when systems fail to monitor, we cannot ensure safe drinking water. Protecting public health is our top priority," said Alexis Strauss, water division director for EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. "We will continue to oversee Alma Ranchettes efforts to monitor and supply its users with safe, clean drinking water."

The EPA requires 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 or pipe replacement. 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, arsenic and nitrates, amongst other contaminants, 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. Arsenic exposure can lead to lung, bladder, liver, skin and other cancers, as well as damage to the cardiovascular, pulmonary, immune, neurological and endocrine systems.

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