EPA to re-evaluate standards for chromium-6 in drinking water

A Norman, OK utility debunks the Environmental Working Group.

The Oklahoma Daily reports:

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday a schedule to re-evaluate standards for chromium-6 levels in drinking water, a chemical reported in high levels in Norman in December 2011.

The Environmental Working Group released a 2011 report claiming aquifers that supply Norman and 34 other U.S. cities with water were contaminated above safe levels with chromium-6, a heavy metal linked to cancer.

The group is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. specializing in research and advocacy, according to its website…

However, the initial report by the group was not accurate and was just an effort to create an alarmist reaction, Norman Utilities Director Ken Komiske said.

“Chromium-6 is a naturally occurring element in the aquifer and the earth’s crust,” Komiske said. “It’s found naturally in the soil, so, yes, we do have chromium in our well water, but it is well below the EPA’s maximum contaminant limit.”

Even though levels of chromium-6 in Norman’s aquifers are well below EPA standards, city water officials increased testing from every three years to every quarter as a response to the report, Komiske said.

City water officials tested all wells, lakes and aquifers from which Norman draws its water in February 2011 and found chromium-6 levels ranging from 20 to 80 parts per billion, Komiske said.

“It’s not as if nobody knew about the levels,” Komiske said. “We publish consumer confidence reports every year that tell customers exactly what we find in the aquifer.”

The group did not go through the proper scientific channels of peer review with its findings, so the report lacked credibility and only served to stir alarm, Komiske said…

Read the entire report.

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