Train Names 80 Cities for EPA Drinking Water Survey

[EPA press release - December 18, 1974]

Russell E. Train, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, today named 80 cities that EPA will include in its national reconnaissance survey of drinking water systems. He said the sampling and analysis will be underway within two months.

Train ordered the survey on November 8, 1974, to determine the concentrations, sources and potential danger of certain organic chemicals in municipal drinking water supplies.

"The selection of the cities has been done in consultation with State water supply officials. Within a few months we will have some definite answers about the extent and seriousness of the presence of these organic compounds in our Nation's drinking water systems," the Administrator said.

Train's announcement of the EPA survey came one day after President Ford signed the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974. The legislation, which directs EPA to establish health standards for drinking water, includes a mandate that the Agency report to Congress within six months on the findings of its survey. Train said the complete survey will take a year, but an interim report, with findings from selected cities receiving intensive analysis, will be submitted to the Congress on time.

Train said the survey is an outgrowth of studies and research which found that a number of chemicals which are suspected of being carcinogenic (cancer-causing) are present in small concentrations in the drinking water supplies of New Orleans, Louisiana, and Cincinnati, Ohio.

The national reconnaissance survey will consist of two types of studies. One will involve an extensive and detailed analysis of drinking water supplies in 10 cities; the other will test 70 cities for the presence of six specific chemicals of primary concern to EPA. These six chemicals are among the so-called "volatile" organics, some of which may be formed during the process of chlorination, a widely used process for disinfection of drinking water.

The six chemicals are chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane, bromoform, carbon tetrachloride and 1,2-dichloroethane.

Train said the comprehensive 10-city study would involve detailed testing for the presence of a wide range of organic chemicals, including the six volatile organics.

Scientists hope to determine the types and amounts of various organic compounds that may be present as well as to identify the sources of those chemicals. The pollutants may occur naturally in groundwater supplies, or they may be introduced through natural runoff from land or in agricultural, municipal or industrial discharges.

Consequently, the 10 cities that were chosen exhibit a variety of characteristics. "Some cities draw their water from surface sources such as rivers and lakes; others depend on underground supplies," Train said. "Some of the surface sources are highly polluted with industrial, municipal, or agricultural wastes; others are relatively uncontaminated."

EPA selected the 70 additional cities to determine the role of chlorination, and other treatment processes, on the formation of volatile organics. "EPA will take samples both before and after the water is treated," said Train. "In this way we can best determine whether or not treatment processes themselves are the sources of these organic chemicals."

(List of cities is attached.)

Public Water Systems Selection - National Reconnaissance Survey

A. 10 Systems: Comprehensive sampling and analysis

Scheduled for first six months in 1975

1. Cincinnati, Ohio
2. Ottumwa, Iowa
3. Miami, Florida
4. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
5. Seattle, Washington

Scheduled for last six months in 1975

6. New York, New York
7. Lawrence, Massachusetts
8. Terrebonne Parish Waterworks #1, Louisiana
9. Grand Forks, North Dakota
10. Tucson, Arizona

B. 70 Systems: analysis for six volatile organics

Scheduled for first six months in 1975

Region I

11. Waterbury, Connecticut
12. Boston, Massachusetts (MDC)
13. Newport, Rhode Island

Region II

14. San Juan, Puerto Rico
15. Passaic Valley Water Commission, New Jersey
16. Tom's River, New Jersey
17. Buffalo, New York
18. Rhinebeck, New York

Region III

19. Wilmington Suburban, Delaware
20. New Castle (Artesian Water Co.), Delaware
21. Washington, District of Columbia
22. Baltimore, Maryland
23. South Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
24. Strasburg, Pennsylvania
25. Fairfax County Water Authority, Virginia
26. Hopewell, Virginia
27. Huntington, West Virginia
28. Wheeling, West Virginia

Region IV

29. Jacksonville, Florida
30. Atlanta, Georgia
31. Owensboro, Kentucky
32. Greenville, Mississippi
33. Chattanooga (Tennessee American Water Co.), Tennessee
34. Memphis, Tennessee
35. Nashville, Tennessee
36. Charleston, South Carolina

Region V

37. Chicago, Illinois
38. Clinton, Illinois
39. Indianapolis, Indiana
40. Whiting, Indiana
41. Detroit, Michigan
42. Mt. Clemens, Michigan
43. St. Paul, Minnesota
44. Cleveland, Ohio
45. Columbus, Ohio
46 Dayton, Ohio
47. Indian Hill, Ohio
48. Piqua, Ohia
49. Youngstown (Mahoning Valley Sanitary District), Ohio
50. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
51. Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Region VI

52. Camden, Arkansas
53. Logansport, Louisiana
54. Albuquerque, New Mexico
55. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
56. Brownsville, Texas
57. Dallas, Texas
58. San Antonio, Texas

Region VII

59. Clarinda, Iowa
60. Davenport, Iowa
61. Topeka, Kansas
62. Cape Girardeau, Missouri
63. Kansas City, Missouri
64. St. Louis County, Missouri
65. Lincoln, Nebraska

Region VIII

66. Denver, Colorado
67. Pueblo, Colorado
68. Huron, South Dakota
69. Salt Lake City, Utah

Region IX

70. Phoenix, Arizona
71. California Water Project at Coalinga, California
72. Contra Costs County Water District, California
73. Dos Palos, California
74. Los Angeles, California
75. San Diego, California (Colorado River Aqueduct)
76. San Francisco, California

Region X

77. Douglas, Alaska
78. Idaho Falls, Idaho
79. Corvallis, Oregon
80. Illwaco, Washington