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EPA Cites Briarwood Manor Water System for Nitrates in Drinking Water

Release Date: 10/20/2000
Contact Information: Roy Seneca, (215) 814-5567

Roy Seneca, 215-814-5567

LAUREL, Del. -- EPA has ordered operators of the Briarwood Manor Water System to notify its water customers about high levels of nitrates in their drinking water and develop a plan to correct the problem. The water system provides water to about 200 residents in a subdivision in the southwestern part of Sussex County.

The EPA’s health-based standard under the Safe Drinking Water Act sets a maximum contaminant level of 10 milligrams of nitrate per liter (mg/l) of drinking water. That’s the same as 10 parts per million. Since 1995, the reported nitrate level at Briarwood has ranged between 10.5 to 13 mg/l. The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has been unsuccessful in getting the system to reduce the contaminant levels, and therefore referred the system to EPA for enforcement.

Drinking water with high concentrations of nitrates can cause serious illness because the nitrates reduce the capacity of blood to carry oxygen.

The EPA administrative order directs Briarwood to notify customers about the contaminants and notify local radio and television stations. Such notifications can keep the public informed so that they may take whatever steps they believe necessary to protect their health. The order also requires Briarwood to develop a plan to reduce the nitrate contaminant levels.

The Safe Drinking Water Act establishes regulations for public water systems. These regulations establish maximum contaminant levels, monitoring, reporting and public notification requirements for public water systems.