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EPA ISSUES EMERGENCY ORDER TO THE MT. ZION WATER AUTHORITY IN CENTRE, ALA., FOR DRINKING WATER VIOLATIONS

 EPA ISSUES EMERGENCY ORDER TO THE MT. ZION WATER AUTHORITY
 IN CENTRE, ALA., FOR DRINKING WATER VIOLATIONS
 ATLANTA, June 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that an Emergency Administrative Order has been issued to the Mt. Zion Water Authority in Centre, Ala., for drinking water violations.
 The order was issued because EPA has determined that the presence of fecal coliform bacteria in the water system's raw water supply and the system's inability to provide efficient treatment present an imminent and substantial endangerment to public health.
 W. Ray Cunningham, EPA Region IV Water Management Division director, said: "This is the first time that we have overfiled the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) Public Water Supply program. This action was necessary because the Alabama Supreme Court on May 27 overruled ADEM's enforcement efforts against the Mt. Zion system, preventing the state agency from exercising its authority to protect the health of persons served by the system."
 The action is being taken to ensure the 270 individuals served by the Mt. Zion Water Authority are provided with safe drinking water.
 Under terms of the order, EPA is requiring the water authority to provide bottled water to its customers and to notify its customers not to use their current drinking water for human consumption. Within 30 days of the issuance of the order, EPA is requiring the water supply system to tie into an existing viable public system or to complete an engineering study on the feasibility of connecting to a viable water system. The engineering study may also include improvements to the existing water system to make the water safe for human consumption.
 In the past year, there were eight months in which raw water samples indicated the presence of fecal coliform bacteria. Fecal coliform bacteria are generally not harmful themselves, but their presence indicates that other more harmful disease-causing organisms may be present. The presence of fecal coliform bacteria in drinking water should be taken seriously because they are usually associated with sewage or animal wastes.
 The water authority violated the Safe Drinking Water Act by delivering water that exceeded the maximum contaminant level for turbidity during the months of February and March 1992. Turbidity measurements provide information that indicates the efficiency of surface water treatment facilities in removing particulate matter and microbiological contaminants.
 EPA issued an Administrative Order to the Mt. Zion Water Authority on Aug. 22, 1991, for exceeding the turbidity maximum contaminant level. Subsequent inspections by EPA and the state of Alabama indicated that the physical water treatment facility did not meet state or federal requirements.
 According to Joe Alan Power, ADEM Water Supply Branch chief, "The recalcitrant attitude of the Mt. Zion Water Board to continue using this undependable spring source (Mt. Zion), with a satisfactory source immediately available, exhibits a blatant disregard for the health and well-being of its customers."
 If the Mt. Zion Water Authority fails or refuses to comply with the Emergency Administrative Order, they may be subject to civil penalties of not more than $5,000 per day of violation.
 -0- 6/29/92
 /CONTACT: Charlis Thompson of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region IV, 404-347-3004/ CO: United States Environmental Protection Agency ST: Alabama IN: SU: EXE


EA-BN -- AT019 -- 4834 06/29/92 15:31 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 29, 1992
Words:548
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