And he will seek permission to deliver some water with arsenic levels exceeding the new standard after it has taken effect. In most circumstances, the EPA seeks to limit cancer risks to 1 in 10, or 1 in 1 million.
But the Bush administration faced a public relations disaster when it decided to reconsider the new, tougher standards that the Clinton administration had put in place. Faced with an outraged Congress, it quickly backtracked and adopted the Clinton standard. When President Bush was asked by a reporter last summer whether there were any actions he wished he could do over, Bush singled out the flip-flop on arsenic.
Big arsenic spring trail - Rio Grande del Norte National Monument
A drought has heightened appreciation for the well water that sustains the town in its beautiful but parched landscape. In Washington, Rep. Heather Wilson, a New Mexico Republican, fought against the tougher arsenic standard, arguing that it would actually threaten public health by forcing some rural water systems to close. The staff of Sen. Jeff Bingaman D-N.
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What makes the challenge especially great in Albuquerque is that there is no central water facility where arsenic treatment could take place. The water in some tanks has an average arsenic level as low as 2 ppb; in others, the average is 29, with occasional levels as high as To meet the new 10 ppb standard citywide, Albuquerque expects to have to install treatment equipment at 20 of these facilities. Further complicating the picture for Albuquerque is a huge public works project that should begin supplying the city with drinking water from surface water diverted from the Colorado River by If that water flows as scheduled, the city would be able to stagger the installation of the treatment equipment, spreading out the cost over several years.
But if the surface water project is stalled by a lawsuit or another delay, then the city will need all of the treatment equipment in place by the Jan. Lead has always been here and so has mercury. The Sandia and Isleta pueblos, Native American reservations that border Albuquerque to the north and the south, agree. They have waged a decade-long battle to force the city and its bedroom communities to clean up the waste water they discharge into the Rio Grande, including the elevated levels of arsenic.
On the northern fringe of Albuquerque, dense housing developments yield abruptly to a vast desert landscape and the threshold of the Sandia Pueblo.
Treatment System Tackles Arsenic in Drinking Water | WaterWorld
The Sandia Pueblo relies on this water for irrigation, fishing, recreation and ceremonial practices, but some of those uses have been stopped because of arsenic and other contaminants. Albuquerque is not the only place struggling against the new arsenic standard. In El Paso, city officials want an extension of several years past They also want an exemption from a requirement that water systems tell customers about the increased cancer risk posed even by water that meets the new standard.
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