The Quality of Surface Waters
Studies carried out by the EQB (Reports 303(d) and 305(b)) and the US Geological Survey (USGS) show that the principal problems of surface water quality in
The data from 2002 on concentrations of bacteria of fecal origin in the network of USGS stations in
The federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA 1974, as amended) does not set quality norms for sources to be used for supply of drinking water. However, it does delegate to the Health Department (HD) the adoption of additional requirements to guarantee the quality of drinking water at the local level.
The Health Department requires the Autoridad de Acueductos y Alcantarillados (AAA, Aqueducts and Sewer Authority) and other entities that propose the development of new water distribution systems to comply with the following norms:
To complete a sanitary survey in the drainage basin or aquiferaquiferous confined and unconfined: a geological formation in which there is a capacity to accumulate underground water that may surface naturally (as in springs) or be extracted artificially for consumption (as with wells). Aquifers may be confined or unconfined. In confined aquifers the water is contained between layers of impermeable material; in unconfined aquifers, the water is located between porous layers. that is to be the source of the water to be treated to serve as drinking water.
To comply with the regulations set out in the SWDA, including the Filtration Rule, Disinfection Products Rule, Total Coliforms Rule from the Safe Drinking Water Act, among others.
To cooperate with the HD and the EQB in evaluating the design of new drinking water treatment plants to assure that the physical and chemical processes provide appropriate treatment to comply with the SDWA.
The EQB has established, as part of the norms for water quality, the maximum concentrations for certain permitted parameters in waters for different human activities (Article 3 of the Regulations on Water Quality Standards, Regulation No. 6616 of May 14, 2003). These regulations set the norms and requirements for maintaining the bodies of water in
The EQB norms are the guidelines used by the HD in its review of new drinking water production systems. These norms for water resources should not be confused with the federal drinking water standards, which include another series of water compliance parameters for water already purified for human consumption. In the case of raw waters, the EQB and the EPA require that the water source comply with Regulation No. 6616. These norms were set taking into account the chemical and physical techniques and processes used generally in modern treatment plants water to make water safe to drink. It is possible that if the concentration of a chemical or biological component of the raw waters exceeds a certain limit, the available treatment processes will not be adequate to guarantee that the water will meet the federal standards for drinking water. In such cases, the HD may refuse to issue a permit to use the water as a source of public supply.
Version: 06091473 Rev. 1