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Delaware Follows NJ’s Lead on Drinking Water Standards

But NJ’s Leadership a Thing of The Past

The State of Delaware just followed NJ’s lead and has proposed new drinking water standards for toxic chemicals.

Following up on the excellent series “Delaware Drinking Water At Risk” by reporter Jeff Montgomery, Delaware online news reports today:

Delaware proposes stricter limits on 3 toxins in drinking water

Delaware plans to impose stricter drinking water standards for three toxic chemicals suspected of causing cancer in people, a move that will require increased filtering of public supplies in systems serving more than 200,000 state residents.

Two water utilities would be affected immediately by the proposed lowering of allowable limits for perchloroethylene in drinking water to 1 part per billion from the current 5 ppb level. The chemical, often called PCE or “perc,” is widely used in dry cleaning, and has turned up in groundwater across Delaware and around the country.

A similar tightening is under consideration for a related solvent, tetrachloroetheylene or TCE, and vinyl chloride. All three are considered probable carcinogens. TCE and PCE are widely used as cleaning solvents in industry, while vinyl chloride is used in making plastics. …

New Jersey already has a 1 ppb limit for the same chemicals.

Both NJ standards and the proposed Delaware drinking water standards are more stringent than federal standards set by US EPA.

However, shamefully, NJ’s leadership no longer exists.

Governor Christie killed it by issuing Executive Order #2, which discourages any NJ standards that are more stringent than federal minimums.

EO#2 mandates that any new NJ standard be justified by cost benefit analysis, a hurdle to new regulation that conflicts with NJ’s Safe Drinking Water Act.

NJ’s Safe Drinking Water Act establishes 3 science based factors upon which to base drinking water standards. Unlike the federal SDWA, NJ law does not include a requirement to consider costs. NJ’s law is stricter than the federal law in this important regard, which leads to NJ’s stricter standards, that are primarily health based.

As we wrote, quoting DEP:

The [Drinking Water Quality] Institute considers three factors when recommending MCLs: health effects, technological ability to measure the contaminant level, and ability of existing treatment technologies to meet the MCL. For chemicals causing effects other than cancer (noncarcinogens), the goal is the elimination of all adverse health effects resulting from ingestion, within the limits of practicability and feasibility. The Federal standard-setting process considers these factors and an additional economic factor. (proposal at page 19-20)

DEP Commissioner Martin has gone even further than Christie’s EO.

Martin not only ignores – and even attacks – his own scientists’ recommendations, he now has blocked the Drinking Water Quality Institute from even meeting to make recommendations.

The DWQI meets on a quarterly basis. They last met in September. It’s been over 6 months (see: Total Collapse at NJ Drinking Water Quality Institute

What’s up with that, Bob?

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