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EPA orders four Cottonwood water systems to decrease arsenic in drinking water

Release Date: 10/06/2009
Contact Information: Margot Perez-Sullivan, 4159.947.4149, perezsullivan.margot@epa.gov

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered four Cottonwood, Ariz., public drinking water systems to reduce arsenic levels in their drinking water systems or face penalties of up to $37,500 per day for each violation.

The EPA’s orders require four City of Cottonwood public drinking water systems serving over 15,000 residents combined, to develop and meet a schedule to comply with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act’s arsenic standard of 10 parts per billion.

“Public water systems are responsible for providing safe drinking water,” said Alexis Strauss, the Water Division director for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “We’ll continue to oversee the Cottonwood public water systems as they take the steps necessary to comply with all federal standards.”

The EPA issued orders to the following Cottonwood municipal water systems:

    Cottonwood Municipal Water, 220 W. Mesquite Drive
    Verde Santa Fe Water System, 800 Santa Fe Trail
    Clemenceau Water System, 165 S. Candy Lane
    Verde Village 3, 2612 Pleasant Valley Drive

The City municipal water systems were granted a federal exemption for the new arsenic standard from the EPA in 2006. Under the terms of the exemption, all four water systems were required to meet the new standard by January 2009. All four systems failed to meet the deadline, and are currently out of compliance with the arsenic standard. The orders require the City to submit a plan and schedule to comply by 2011.

Arsenic, a naturally occurring mineral found throughout the United States, is primarily found in groundwater and is a known carcinogen. Drinking high levels of arsenic over many years can increase the chance of lung, bladder, liver and skin cancers, as well as heart disease, diabetes and neurological damage. Arsenic inhibits the body’s ability to fight off cancer and other diseases.

For more information on arsenic levels found at the City of Cottonwood’s public drinking water systems, please email perezsullivan.margot@epa.gov or call 415.947.4149

For more information on the EPA’s drinking water programs, go to: http://www.epa.gov/region9/water/drinking/

For more information on Arizona’s drinking water programs, go to: http://www.azdeq.gov/environ/water/dw/
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