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The PHG represents the level of contaminant at which no adverse health effects would be anticipated over an entire lifetime of exposure. So, a PHG is not a boundary line between a “safe” and “dangerous” level of a chemical, and drinking water is frequently demonstrated as safe to drink even if it contains chemicals at levels exceeding their PHGs. The EPA’s MCLs are set as close to the health goals as possible, considering cost, benefits and the ability of public water systems to detect and remove contaminants using suitable treatment technologies.
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EWG’s database reports that the contaminants Everett detected above EWG’s health guidelines were primarily unregulated contaminants, elements for which there is no current legal standard. In most cases, City of Everett water tests at or below the public health guideline for the contaminants in EWG’s database and in all cases below the EPA regulatory limits.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gathers information on unregulated contaminants under their Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR) program. The EPA collects data for these chemicals and microbes that may be present in drinking water, but are not currently subject to EPA drinking water regulations.
Public water systems report monitoring results to the EPA on an ongoing basis. Consumers should be confident that water scientists regularly monitor the presence of these constituents and continue to investigate the implications of minute levels in the water supply.
Everett monitors for regulated and unregulated chemicals/compounds/substances in our drinking water that aren’t included in the EWG database. Our 2019 Water Quality Summary contains our complete report with the most recent data. Any results over the EPA’s Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) are reported to customers in the annual water quality report.
No. By their own admission, EWG selectively chooses the guidelines by which they measure water quality. Individual constituents are evaluated on varying standards ranging from federal to assorted state guidelines.
The City of Everett’s water supply is safe to drink and meets or surpasses all water quality standards and requirements. There are no industrial or agricultural pollution sources in Everett’s drinking water source. Of the constituents listed in the EWG database, some are naturally occurring and some are the result of disinfection processes that eliminate disease-causing pathogens.
All public water systems must adhere to national water quality standards required by the EPA in the Safe Drinking Water Act. Public health guidelines are non-enforceable advisories to water systems that are meant to be weighed in conjunction with economic and technological feasibility. In some cases, the technology to treat the constituents may not be available, or the cost of treatment too high compared to the risk assessment. As technology advances, new and improved treatment options become more available and affordable for adoption by water utilities.