In the News…
Public Health and Drinking Water News Briefs
June 7, 2002
Congress Passes Bioterrorism Bill
After lengthy deliberations, Congress has passed The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Response Act of 2002, a comprehensive effort to shore up the nation’s defenses against a biological attack. The House and Senate each voted overwhelmingly to approve the bill and President Bush is expected to sign it into law. Among its numerous provisions, the bill requires community water systems serving more than 3,300 people to conduct vulnerability assessments and prepare emergency response plans. These water systems will be required to submit a copy of these documents to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, fearing that the plans could serve as a roadmap for those seeking to cause harm, the contents of these documents are expressly exempted from Freedom of Information Act disclosures.
To learn more, visit the FDA’s bioterrorism page: http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/bioterrorism.html
New TB Vaccine in the Works
From the Fourth World Congress on Tuberculosis in Washington, DC, experts announced earlier this week that preliminary testing of a new tuberculosis vaccine in humans would begin by the end of 2002. The trial will mark the first time in nearly 80 years that a new vaccine has been tested against TB. The development of new drugs is critical as resistant strains become increasingly common. Philip Hopewell of the University of California at San Francisco noted, “We won’t even begin to approach the goal of elimination of TB as a global health problem without developing new tools.” The TB bacterium is present in one-third of the world’s population and kills approximately two million people each year.
For more information about the Fourth World Congress on Tuberculosis, visit http://www.niaid.nih.gov/dmid/tuberculosis/tbcongress/ To learn more about TB, visit http://www.who.int/health-topics/tb.htm
EPA Announces Latest Toxic Release Inventory
The EPA recently issued its annual report on the amount of toxic chemicals released into the environment. The report indicates that trends of declining overall releases are continuing. Total releases of chemicals nationwide decreased by about 700 million pounds during 2000, the latest year for which data are available. As reported to the EPA, total chemical releases into the environment decreased nationwide from 7.8 billion pounds in 1999 to 7.1 billion pounds in 2000. Based on trends since the inception of the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), chemical releases have decreased approximately 48 percent since 1988. Looking at all chemical releases, approximately 27 percent of chemicals were released to air, 4 percent to water, and 69 percent to land on- and off-site.
The new EPA 2000 TRI Data is available at: http://www.epa.gov/tri/tridata/tri00/index.htm
Experts Recommend Federal Commission to Prevent Water Shortage
Testifying before the House Resources Water and Power Subcommittee last week, a panel of experts called for the creation of a new commission to manage the nation’s water resources and ensures the avoidance of a national water shortage. The last related federal commission was established in 1968. According to Henry Vaux, Jr., a professor of resources economics at the University of Southern California, that commission was “lost among other national priorities.” Stating that today’s water problems are more challenging and complex than ever before, Vaux added, “It’s time for another commission to make a thorough examination of our current situation and make recommendations for an integrated set of national water policies.” Several members of last week’s panel advocated that the future commission consist of mostly outside experts as opposed to solely government officials. The panel also suggested that the commission be staffed with different types of experts from all areas of the country. Also present was the National Water Resources Association executive director Thomas Donnelly, standing in opposition to the proposal: “We see little likelihood that the ultimate recommendations would add anything new to the body of knowledge on water resources management and development of national policy.”
For an updated status on the establishment of the commission,
visit http://thomas.loc.gov and search for H.R. 3561.
AWWA Releases Regulatory Time Line
The American Water Works Association (AWWA) recently released its schedule for drinking water regulatory action for the next three years. Following are some drinking water utility milestones identified by the AWWA (subject to change):
* April 17th – Six-year Review Notice
* May – Preliminary CCL1 Regulatory Determinations
* Mid to Late – Final Six-Year Review (August Statutory Deadline)
* Mid to Late – Final CCL1 Regulatory Determination (August Statutory Deadline)
* Late (or early 2003) Stage 2 DBPR and LT2ESWTR Proposals
* February – Statutory Deadline for CCL2
* Early to Mid – Final Groundwater Rule · Late – Final Radon Rule
* Late (or early 2004) Proposed Revised Total Coliform Rule and/or Distribution System Rule
* Late (or early 2004) Final Stage 2 DBPR and LT2ESWTR
* Mid to Late – Proposed Regulations Resulting from CCL1 Regulatory Determinations (24 months after)
* Mid to Late – Proposals, Regulations Resulting from Six-Year Review (if any)
* Late (or early 2005) Final Revised Total Coliform Rule and/or Distribution System Rule
For a PDF copy of this schedule, visit
http://www.safedrinkingwater.com/community/2002-2004_Regulatory_Schedule.pdf ( PDF)
In The News-is a bi-weekly, online service from the Water Quality & Health Council. The publication is updated every other Friday and can be viewed by logging onto www.waterandhealth.org. To receive the publication via e-mail, please click here and enter your e-mail address to join our mailing list.