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Aniak, Alaska Vocational Education Center in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act

Release Date: 12/29/2005
Contact Information: Contact: Jean Iriarte, EPA Region 10, Seattle, WA (206) 553-1644 Tony Brown, EPA Region 10, Seattle, WA (206) 553-1203

December 29, 2005

Joe Parent Voc. Ed Center failed to test their drinking water for total coliform bacteria and nitrates

Aniak, Alaska - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered the KSD Joe Parent Voc. ED Center Water System to conduct sampling for total coliform bacteria, test and monitor the water for nitrates and inform its customers about the quality of their water as required by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Violation of any terms of this federal order may result in an administrative civil penalty of up to $27,500 or a civil judicial penalty of not more than $32,500 per day of violation.

The Joe Parent Voc. Ed Center Water System is a public (non-transient, non-community) water system that uses groundwater and serves approximately 35 users. Aniak is an island located in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, about 100 miles northeast of Bethel, AK.

The Joe Parent Voc. Ed Center Water System has a 4-year history of failure to comply with SDWA. It was referred to EPA for formal enforcement after state officials had exhausted all available remedies to bring the system into compliance.

"The users of this system should be aware that its operators must conduct monthly sampling for total coliform bacteria and conduct monitoring for nitrates annually," said Jean Iriarte, an Enforcement Officer with EPA Region 10.

Without sampling and monitoring, you do not know whether the water system is vulnerable to the danger of some coliform bacteria. The presence of coliforms (including fecal coliform and E. Coli) indicates whether other potentially harmful bacteria may be present. Coliforms are naturally occurring in the environment. Fecal coliforms and E. Coli only come from human and animal fecal waste. Exposure to nitrates in drinking water can make infants seriously ill or even die.

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