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Petition No. P2006-05

LCB File No. R126-05:

Nevada Administrative Code: 445A.450 through 445A.540

Description of Petition: Regulation R126-05: Public Water System, Water Quality and Treatment of Water: (Note: the State Health Division filed a pervious version of this regulation as a temporary regulation on March 28, 2005. The regulation has been slightly altered and is now proposed as a permanent regulation.) This regulation amends NAC 445A.450 through 445A.540. The amendment allows Nevada to adopt new federal primary drinking water regulations already in effect under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) in the following areas: arsenic rule; long term 1 surface water treatment rule; lead and copper rule revisions; radionuclides; filter backwash rule; public notification rule; and variances and exemptions.

The amended regulation also provides criteria for projects that propose treatment facilities for groundwater. Of note, USEPA requires states with regulatory jurisdiction to assure design and construction of new water treatment facilities are compliant with primary drinking water regulations. The remaining amendments add definitions, seek to provide clarity, change authority from the Division of Environmental Protection to the health authority, where health districts would have authority, and provide only enforceable (and delete more stringent) secondary standards for water quality.

The estimated beneficial economic effect of the proposed regulation on the business community and the public would decreased medical costs that otherwise might be incurred as a result of exposure to contaminants in drinking water.

There is likely a significant adverse economic effect on small business although such impacts would not be borne evenly among privately owned public water systems such as mobile home parks. The impact borne by any particular water system will be dependent on the source of water quality and the quality as well as the availability and cost of alternative water sources. The likely significant impact will be associated with costs to comply with the new arsenic concentration standard of 10 parts per billion (ppb), reduced from 50 ppb, which becomes effective in January 2006. This standard will apply to all public water systems except transient, non-community systems, which are defined as non-community water systems, which do not regularly serve at least 25 of the same persons over six months of the year. Costs impacts might include developing an arsenic compliance plan, finding and developing new water sources, purchasing water from another water system, blending water from two or more sources, or implementing treatment to reduce arsenic levels.

The State of Nevada has, under an agreement with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, primary enforcement responsibility (primacy) for the primary drinking water regulations promulgated pursuant to the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The State of Nevada must adopt regulations as stringent as the federal regulations to retain primacy, and must remain current with new regulations necessitated by amendments to the Act. Other than adopting such primary drinking water regulations, there is no duplication or overlap of these regulations with other state or government agencies. There will be no additional cost to the agency for enforcement of the proposed regulation and the regulation does not address fees. (SEC Petition #2005-06)

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