Thus the RTCR will substantially reduce transparency, especially regarding information about safety problems that is available on a real-time basis to the public in general and food manufacturers in particular.
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Food Not on EPA’s Radar
The bottom line is that once RTCR is fully implemented and rolled out nationwide in 2016, despite the anticipated challenges of aging infrastructure, reduced treatment budgets, lower repair budgets, and lower enforcement staff availability that will make water safety issues more rampant and more difficult to solve, there will be even less information and less protection for food manufacturers and processors who use municipal water.
The “Identifying the Gaps in Understanding the Benefits and Costs of Boil Water Advisories” report showed that less than 10 percent of over 508 notices reviewed for the first six months of 2010 would have been required to boil their water under the new rules. The study looked at the impact and costs and benefits of public notices and boil water advisories. It used data about the impact on local immediate water illness but did not consider outbreaks contributed by food manufactured in the communities subject to the boil water advisories. When questioned on this point, the study’s primary author explained that food manufacturers were not specified constituents by the 42 states or the 12 water utilities that participated.
Know Your Water
It is advisable to know your incoming water source, understand if your supplier buys finished water or treats it, and determine what percent of their output you receive. Institute a system to evaluate, monitor, and verify issues and changes in your specific supply such as checking on your state database for recent detections and violations, and whether you were notified of such; and finding out where you are located with respect to the treatment plant—are you at the end of the line or are there sampling points nearby that will provide information.
Posy is vice president, strategic services and regulatory affairs, for Atlantium Technologies. She works with governments and private entities to promote effective UV treatment standards and improve water safety through non-chemical disinfection. Reach her at email@example.com.