A new guidance document entitled, Point-of-Use or Point-of-Entry Treatment Options for Small Drinking Water Systems, is now available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Copies of the 127-page document can be downloaded from the agency’s website at http://epa.gov/safewater/smallsys/ssinfo.htm#two.

Very similar to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality recognition of POU devices as a cost-effective alternative for arsenic removal in small systems, the federal agency’s introduction notes ‘the challenges facing small public water systems…POU or POE treatment devices may be an option for (such systems) where central treatment is not affordable.’

Technical, operational and managerial issues that small systems may likely face when implementing POU or POE programs are presented in clearly defined categories, accompanied throughout with simple line drawings. Cost benefits, case studies and sample monitoring logs are all included.

While obviously aimed predominantly at those public water systems (PWS), WC&P readers, take note: ‘POU and POE units must be owned, controlled, and maintained by the PWS or by a contractor hired by the PWS to ensure proper operation and maintenance of the devices and compliance with MCLs.’

All of which means if you are not currently marketing to the small systems in your region, now might be the time to start.

The overview of POU and POE treatment includes adsorptive media, ion exchange, granular activated carbon and reverse osmosis (AM, IX, GAC and RO, respectively). Simple line drawings illustrate typical installations, while easy-to-use spreadsheets enable prompt comparisons between the treatments.

While some blanket statements are made (i.e., ‘GAC media are prone to microbial colonization’) it is, overall, an objective representation of options. The agency states it prepared the document with the help of stakeholders on the March 22 draft and with peer review by POU/POE experts.

Nearly half the document is case studies on 22 POU and POE projects, included to provide real-world information on how systems have implemented these treatments. Both capital expenditure and operations/maintenance costs are included.

Outreach flyers to educate the public should prove valuable to utilities opting for POU devices.



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