Water Quality

Clone of Private Drinking Water

Glass of water with ice - Private Drinking WaterPrivate Drinking Water Systems

A majority of U.S. residents receive drinking water from federally regulated systems that are equipped with advanced technologies to ensure clean water standards are met under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).  However, nearly 15 percent of Americans rely on unregulated drinking water systems (UDWS) that are not protected by the SDWA. UDWS are systems that serve fewer than 25 people or have less than 15 connections. They are typically private wells but also include springs, cisterns, and hauled water systems.

Because the lack of required testing and monitoring, UDWS pose a unique public health challenge. 

NEHA Resources:

New! Private Well Course

NEHA is proud to announce a new, no-cost, online education opportunity!

The Private Well Class is being provided to NEHA at no-charge by the Illinois State Water Survey and the Illinois Water Resources Center at the University of Illinois. The funding for the Private Well Class program comes from the USEPA through a cooperative agreement with the Rural Community Assistance Partnership. Originally intended for well owners, this course has proven to be a resource for EH professionals for basic well and groundwater understanding. The class consists of 10 courses that can be taken in sequence or individually and are eligible for one (1) CE each from NEHA.

To take the course, visit , http://nehacert.org/.

 

EH Topics: 

Legionella

Introduction

In 2015, there were approximately 6,000 cases of Legionnaires’ disease reported, according to the CDC. Additionally, the rate of legionellosis cases reported quadrupled from 2000 to 2014. Because the disease is often underdiagnosed, this number is most likely an underestimate of the true number of cases. Legionella is bacteria that is naturally-occurring in fresh water aquatic systems and becomes a risk when it enters human-made water and plumbing systems. It thrives in warm water environments and is known to grow in hot tubs, spas, pools, fountains, ice machines, and faucets.

The Legionella bacteria was first discovered in 1976 in Philadelphia during an American Legion Convention. Many participants at the convention became ill with a type of pneumonia, which was later found to be caused by the respiration and inhalation of water droplets containing the Legionella bacteria.

The respiration or inhalation of water droplets or aerosols containing the bacteria can lead to community-acquired pneumonia, or Legionnaires’ disease along with Pontiac Fever which is a milder form of legionellosis that presents flu-like symptoms. There are over 60 species of Legionella, with six different serogroups that can cause disease in humans but most cases of legionellosis are caused by Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1, the pneumonic form of Legionella.

 

Environmental Health Significance

Because Legionella is a recently-emerging environmental health issue, the resources and materials available to address the concerns presented by the bacteria are insufficient. The significant increase in reported legionellosis cases over the last two decades results in a demand for more comprehensive public and environmental health programs to target the risks associated with Legionella. In addition, further education and training for public and environmental health professionals around building water systems and premise plumbing is necessary to develop programs for preventing and mitigating these risks.

NEHA is conducting a nationwide environmental scan of existing Legionella programs in health departments at both the local and state levels. NEHA would like to gain more information about current programs in place, the components of effective programs, and the resources and tools that programs are currently lacking. Ultimately, this information will be used to develop methods for best practices and to design a model Legionella program. A survey has been created to gather more information about Legionella programs. If you are a part of a health department or organization that addresses Legionella or has an interest in developing a program, please take NEHA’s Legionella program survey to aid us in our environmental scan. 

 

CDC Legionnaires' Disease Factsheet

EH Topics: 

Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code Voting Guide

Vote on the Code!

The Model Aquatic Health Code provides national guidance for the creation and updating of  aquatic facility regulations around the country. The Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code (CMAHC) works to regularly update the MAHC through the collection and analysis of  code change requests. This allows for the collection and analysis of data-driven, science-based information from public health and aquatic industry experts and helps to keep the MAHC current, sustainable, easily understood and implemented. 

Every other year, The CMAHC invites public health and industry leaders to gather at the Vote on the Code Biennial Conference for discussion and member voting on new language and content for the MAHC. The next vote is coming up this October 17 & 18th at the Vote on the Code Conference, held in conjunction with the World Aquatic Health Conference. This year, there are 179 change requests that are up for voting by the CMAHC membership. NEHA has reviewed the requests and identified 66 that likely or possibly have environmental public health impacts. An overview of those change requests can be found below or printed for an easy voting reference.  A larger voting guide for the environmental public health elements is also available,which includes the rationale for the decision and future action to be taken. The full listing of all change requests is also available.






Change Request #

Summary

Relevance to Environmental Health

TRC Recommendation

NEHA Recommendation

4.2.2.2.2-0001 Revises definition for paint as indoor VOC vapor retarder. Possible YES YES
4.2.2.3.3.1-0001 Revises language around air handling system codes. Possible NO NO
4.2.2.4.5-0001 Adds latching to door reference. Possible YES YES
4.5.1.1-0001 Revises language for aquatic venue shape. Possible YES YES
4.5.3.2-0001 Further defines swimouts. Possible YES YES
4.5.4-0001 Standardizes stair requirements. Possible YES YES
4.5.4.2-0001 Standardizes stair requirements. Possible YES YES
4.5.4.6-0001 Standardizes stair requirements. Possible NO NO
4.5.12.4-0001 Clarifies language for projections/obstructions. Possible YES YES- as modified
4.5.16.3-0001 Improves underwater bench definition. Possible NO NO
4.5.16.5-0001 Limits hydrotherapy jets to spas and therapy pools. Possible NO NO
4.5.17.4-0001 Clarifies definition of underwater ledges. Possible NO NO
4.5.18-0001 Eliminates allowance for underwater shelves. Likely NO NO
4.5.19.1.6.2-0001 Adds requirement for rope designation between pool areas. Possible NO NO
4.5.19.2.4-0001 Clarifies depth marker units. Possible NO NO
4.6.1.6.1-0001 Clarifies lighting requirements.  Possible NO NO
4.7.1.6.2.1.4-0001 Adds annex section on SCRS devices. Possible YES YES
4.7.3.-0001 Adds allowance for new filtration technology. Possible NO NO
4.7.3.2.1.3-0001 Protocols to mitigate chlorine gas exposure. Likely YES YES
4.7.3.2.1.3-0002 Eliminates loopholes for chemical feeder requirements. Likely NO NO
4.7.3.2.2.2-0003 Eliminates free available chlorine dosing requirement. Possible YES YES
4.7.3.2.2.3-0002 Eliminates free available chlorine dosing requirement. Possible YES YES - as modified
4.7.3.3.1.2-0001 Provides alternatives to secondary disinfection for small pools. Possible NO NO
4.7.3.3.2-0001 Change secondary disinfection requirements. Possible YES YES- as modified
4.7.3.3.2-0002 Clarifies full flow treatment. Possible YES YES- as modified
4.7.3.3.3.3-0001 Require UV secondary treatment for splash/spray areas. Likely YES YES- as modified
4.7.3.3.3.4-0001 Require shutdown if UVT is less than minimum transmissivity.  Likely YES YES- as modified
4.7.3.3.5-0001 Secondary treatment filtration options. Possible NO NO
4.7.4.1.1-0001 Clarify language on filtration. Possible YES YES
4.8.1.6.7-0001 Limits wing wall use. Possible NO NO
4.8.2.2.4-0002 Stair requirement for 3m diving stands. Possible NO NO
4.8.4-0001 Stair requirement for pool slide. Possible NO NO
4.8.5.3.2-0002 Clarifies lifeguard chair requirements. Possible NO NO
4.8.6.3.7-0002 Additional latching requirements. Possible YES YES
4.12.5.2.2-0002 Adapts lazy river lifeguarding operations. Possible YES YES
5.7.1.1.1.1-0001 Protocols to mitigate chlorine gas exposure. Likely YES YES
5.7.1.1.1.1.3-0001 Protocols to mitigate chlorine gas exposure. Likely NO NO
5.7.2.2.4.1.1-0001 Protocols to mitigate chlorine gas exposure. Likely YES YES- as modified
5.7.3.1.3-0001 Add requirements for stabilizer certification. Possible YES YES- as modified
5.7.3.1.3.2-0001 Lower CA stabilizer limit. Likely ABSTAIN YES
5.7.3.1.5.1-0001 Add requirement for pool grade salt. Possible YES YES- as modified
5.7.3.2.2-0001 Addition for ozone generator feedback. Possible NO NO
5.7.3.2.2.6-0001 Compressed oxygen NSF 50 Possible NO NO
5.7.3.3.2-0001 Add NSF/ANSI certification requirement. Possible YES YES- as modified
5.7.3.4.1-0001 Reduce minimum pH to 6.8. Possible NO NO
5.7.3.4.2-0001 Add NSF/ANSI certification requirement. Possible YES YES
5.7.3.7.8-0001 Require continuous monitoring of UVT. Possible YES Yes
5.7.5.1-0001 Notation of FAC or ORP/HRR prior to opening each day. Possible NO NO
5.8.5.3.1-0001 Addresses lifeguard UV exposure. Possible YES YES
5.8.5.3.2-0001 Provides guidance on spinal injury board construction. Possible YES YES
5.8.5.3.9-0002 Ensure provision of needed lifeguard equipment. Possible YES YES
5.12.2.1-0001 Ensure easy access to lifejackets. Likely YES YES
6.0.1-0001 Protocols to mitigate chlorine gas exposure. Likely YES YES
6.0.1.6.1-0001 Protocols to mitigate chlorine gas exposure. Likely NO NO
6.2.1.2.6.3-0001 Ensure lifeguard instructors maintain high training quality. Possible NO NO
6.2.1.2.6.4-0001 Ensure lifeguard instructors maintain high training quality. Possible NO NO
6.2.1.3.3-0001 Ensure lifeguard instructor is present for entire course. Possible YES YES
6.3.1.2.5-0001 Protocols to mitigate chlorine gas exposure. Likely NO NO
6.3.2-0001 Clarifies needed number of lifeguards. Possible YES YES
6.3.2.1-0001 Facility attributes requiring qualified lifeguards. Possible YES YES
6.3.2.1-0002 Facility attributes requiring qualified lifeguards. Possible NO NO
6.3.4.4.1-0001 Clarifies needed number of lifeguards. Possible YES YES
6.4.1.4.3-0001 Protocols to mitigate chlorine gas exposure. Likely YES YES
6.4.1.6-0001 Protocols to mitigate chlorine gas exposure. Likely YES YES- as modified
6.5.3.2.1-0001 Alter crypto/diarrhea hyperchlorination protocol. Possible YES YES
6.6.3.1-0002 Protocols to mitigate chlorine gas exposure. Likely NO NO
EH Topics: 

Tribal Water Program Improvement Resource Kit

Tribal Water Program Improvement Resource Kit

The resources collected below can be useful in creating or improving private drinking water programs. 

For environmental health professionals or homeowners that are new to private drinking water wells, we recommend taking free Private Well Class. The Private Well Class is being provided to NEHA at no-charge by the Illinois State Water Survey and the Illinois Water Resources Center at the University of Illinois. The funding for the Private Well Class program comes from the USEPA through a cooperative agreement with the Rural Community Assistance Partnership. Originally intended for well owners, this course has proven to be a resource for EH professionals for basic well and groundwater understanding. The class consists of 10 courses that can be taken in sequence or individually and are eligible for one (1) CE each from NEHA.


Community Outreach & Risk Communication

Methods of Effective Homeowner Outreach

Well Water Community Action Toolkit

Groundwater

Protection Our Water: Preventing Contamination 

Source Water Assessment & Protection 

Partnership & Stakeholder Development

Partnership Contact List

Potential Stakeholders

Stakeholder Mapping

Policy & Regulation Development

Drafting Tribal Public Health Law & Policy

Components of a Local Well Construction Ordinances
 

Private Well Testing & Test Interpretation

Interpreting Test Results

Private Well Testing - Connecticut


Program Development

Community Environmental Health Assessments

Community Environmental Health Assessment Toolbox - New Mexico

Indian Community Health Profile Project Toolkit

Protocol for Assessing Community Excellence in Environmental Health (PACE EH)

Performance Standards

Core Competencies for Environmental Health Professionals

Environmental Public Health Perfomance Standards 2.0

Program Assessment

Environmental Health Program Assessment Tool

Private Drinking Water Program Assessment Tool

Quality Improvement

Roadmap to Culture of Quality Improvement

Worksheets 


Technical Resources

Arsenic Contamination Removal

Coliform and Bacteria in Private Wells

Nitrates in Drinking Water Wells

PFOA & PFOS Advisory

Private Well Disinfection 

Private Well Flood Recovery

Radium in Drinking Water

EH Topics: 

Small Systems Monthly Webinar Series

The montly webinar series is providing a forum for EPA to communicate directly with state personnel and other drinking water small systems professionals, which allows EPA to provide training and foster collaboration and dissemination of information.

This month: Decision Support Methodology for Small Systems to Evaluate and Select Treatment Technologies.

NYS CEHD Fall Meeting

The annual fall meeting of the NYS Conference of Environmental Health Directors is scheduled to be held at the Hampton Inn & Suites Conference Center in Cazenovia, New York. The meeting format includes a full day technical session on current environmental health issues and regulatory updates, followed by a half day business meeting providing member committee reports.

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