Magazine article Insight on the News

Costs of New Arsenic Standard to Hit Communities Hard. (Waste & Abuse)

Magazine article Insight on the News

Costs of New Arsenic Standard to Hit Communities Hard. (Waste & Abuse)

Article excerpt

It seems like every time Washington goes off on a regulatory binge everyone else gets the resulting hangover. And the new federal arsenic standard for drinking water, proposed in the latter days of the Clinton administration and recently rubber-stamped by the Bush White House, is an excellent example.

Arsenic in high doses unquestionably can be harmful to individuals. Now, arsenic in minuscule, naturally occurring quantities soon will be harming the fiscal health and well-being of whole communities, according to published reports, as they straggle to comply with a federal mandate to reduce arsenic levels in drinking water by 2006 from a maximum of 50 parts per billion (the current federal standard) to 10 parts per billion.

Complying with the new federal standard could collectively cost water users in the city of Albuquerque (one of many municipalities in the nation that opposed the new standards) as much as $150 million, according to one published report.

The costs of compliance are expected to be even higher in less-developed areas. …

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