Rockville, Md. – Perchlorate and nitrate are drinking water contaminants that are not removed by conventional drinking water treatment processes. However, nitrate can cause serious health problems in infants and perchlorate can have adverse health effects because it interferes with thyroid hormone production. Abt Associates and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a study in AWWA Water Science identifying the costs of different removal processes to specifically help small town systems determine their best options. The authors’ findings—which are publicly available—demonstrate that some lesser-used processes can be more cost-effective depending on the size of the community.
Small drinking water systems have a number of challenges typically not faced by their larger counterparts. These can range from fewer financial resources to a lack of technical expertise or managerial capacity to the very source of the water: small systems largely draw from groundwater sources, in which nitrate can frequently occur in quantities above the maximum acceptable limit. Perchlorate does not occur frequently but can be a problem for some systems, particularly in California and Massachusetts, where it’s regulated by those states’ governments.
“The EPA models that Abt helped develop can enable small communities to determine the best approach for removing contaminants from their water systems,” said Abt lead author Pat Ransom. “Hopefully this means the managers of these systems will get new insights to both keep their water safer and save their communities some money.”
About Abt Associates
Abt Associates is a global consulting and research firm that uses data and bold thinking to improve the quality of people’s lives. From combatting infectious disease and conducting rigorous program evaluations, to ensuring safe drinking water and promoting access to affordable housing—and more—we partner with clients and communities to tackle their most complex challenges. https://www.abtassociates.com