Arsenic in My Drinking Water?
has been much concern lately about arsenic in drinking water. In October 2001,
the United States Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, Christie
Whitman, announced that the arsenic in drinking water standard in 2006 would be
lowered to 10 parts per billion. The current standard is 50 parts per billion,
which was first established in 1962.
us are aware that arsenic is a deadly poison and we obviously would not want any
in our drinking water. There are, however, several things we may not be aware
of. Arsenic is the 12th most common element found in the human body
and is an essential trace element. Normal dietary amounts of arsenic consumed in
America average about 11 micrograms per day. One microgram is relatively the
same as 1 part per billion in relation to a liter of water. Arsenic, in
excessive amounts is classified as a human carcinogen. About 30% of the drinking
water systems in the State of Arizona have arsenic levels in excess of 10 parts
per billion. One part per billion in relationship to time would be the
equivalent of 1 second in 31.5 years, or in relationship to distance it would be
1 inch in 15,783 miles.
of Show Low currently obtains drinking water from four different wells. The
wells are individually sampled for arsenic concentrations and results indicate
that all but one of the wells show either no arsenic at detectable levels or
amounts below the future 10 parts per billion standard. One of the wells,
however, ranges around 13 to 14 parts per billion.
According to the EPA, water systems will have to be in compliance with the new
standard by January 23, 2006. The City of Show Low Water Department is taking a
pro-active stance to comply and has already begun an extensive monitoring,
blending, and testing program. The drinking water delivered to the homes of
those citizens served by the City of Show Low’s water system has and will
continue to be in complete compliance with the United States Environmental
Protection Agency requirements. The Water Department is taking steps to insure
compliance long before January 2006.
have any questions concerning arsenic in your drinking water, you can call the
City’s Environmental Coordinator at 532-4096, or the Water Department Supervisor