Risk Assessment of Chemicals in Drinking Water: Current Concepts and Methodology, Accomplishments, and Future Perspectives
RegulationsThe USEPA also grants authority to individual states to administer its own drinking water program. State health authorities are responsible for determining the levels of contaminants that, depending on current laws and recommendations, can remain in water supplies without threatening human health. In California, the administration of the Drinking Water Program (DWP) was transferred from the Department of Public Health (DPH) to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) on July 1, 2014. This transfer of responsibility aligns the state’s drinking water and water quality programs in an integrated organizational structure. California may maintain the USEPA’s standards or set more stringent standards. Through its DWP, the SWRCB works with county health departments to license and monitor public water systems. The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has a major role in protecting drinking water quality through its leading state authority in conducting risk assessments and specifically its development of public health goals (PHGs), which are the health bases used by California in developing regulatory standards for chemicals in the state’s drinking water. OEHHA is housed within the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA), which also includes the SWRCB, comprising nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards. The water boards evaluate the quality of the state’s surface water and groundwater and regulate the storage and discharge of materials and pollutants that affect water quality. Public water systems have the ultimate responsibility for keeping water safe. Any system that serves more than 25 people or 15 service connections must regularly test its water supplies and meet state and federal regulatory standards.