EPA wants your water tested. They won't sue unless you die.

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

In addition to Electric Industry and National Guard communications tests, looks like our local water utilities may be testing as well. Many people remember Senator Bob Bennett being quoted as saying when one water utility advanced its clock, the result was a hazardous chemical dump. He said he was sworn to secrecy about the identity of the utility.

Well. . .for the water department experts out there, how likely is it that your facility will test prior to the year 2000, and do it according to the guidelines below?

One more thing: I understand that water with too much flouride (sp?) tastes salty. 'Might be worth remembering that if you're on a city water supply and the water starts to taste weird.


What is EPA's Enforcement Policy for violations that occur due to Y2K problems?

OECA's Y2K Enforcement Policy is primarily focused on providing a climate to encourage Y2K testing in advance of the millennium. Under this Policy, regulated facilities who wish to test in advance of the Y2k dates are encourages to utilize any existing regulatory or permit procedures that may apply and that can provide a timely and effective process for testing. If no existing procedures apply - or can't be done in a timely manner - then under this Y2K Enforcement Policy, EPA expects to exercise its discretion to waive 100% of the civil penalties that may otherwise apply and to recommend against criminal prosecution for violations resulting from testing IF the facility can meet several specific criteria, including:

Test protocols must have been designed in advance of the testing period;

The Y2K testing must have been the cause of any potential violations where penalty waiver is sought;

The testing was needed to assess Y2K compliance status or test the effectiveness of Y2K modifications; was conducted before the Year 2000; and conducted for the shortest possible period of time, not to exceed 24 hours in duration.

Violations must not have created a potentially imminent and substantial endangerment;

All violations ceased at the end of the test or were corrected within 24 hours thereafter;

The facility expeditiously remediated any releases or other adverse consequences as specified by EPA;

EPA's Y2k Enforcement policy may be examined on the web at


-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), March 16, 1999


FM - These are the criteria which EPA is applying to any type of company or manufacturing plant which may come under its jurisdiction, not just drinking water facilities. It is not an exhaustive list of how a test of a water facility should be conducted - all affected industries are expected to consult with their trade associations or other similar facilities to identify the state-of-the-art testing protocol. The policy is just a way of encouraging comprehensive testing and contingency planning prior to the rollover. EPA considers the water plants to be very low tech compared to other industries, but also assumes that the smaller water facilities (like the private business sector) may be behind in their efforts.

-- Brooks (brooksbie@hotmail.com), March 16, 1999.

The EPA are pretty worked up on the subject of water - waste water... . Brian Subject: EPA report on y2k and water utilities 

http://www.epa.gov/year2000/ow.htm#Water "A less readily apparent, yet potentially serious, problem in drinking water
and wastewater treatment systems could be caused by equipment with embedded
computer chips. Many of these chips are time and date sensitive, relying on
real-time clocks to perform their functions.

Embedded chips can be either single- or multi-purpose computerized devices
that are literally embedded within equipment controls or control systems.
Embedded chips can perform actual control and monitoring functions of the
drinking water and wastewater treatment processes.

A real-time clock function is used for operations that are date or time
specific. A real-time clock function can be programmed into any device,
computer hardware or software package to record, store, or transmit actual
time, day, and date. Real-time clocks might be found in processes or
actions that must occur on a specific day of the week, or operations that
must be repeated on a set cycle such as every other day or just weekends but
not weekdays.

Examples of these processes in drinking water and wastewater treatment
plants are: starting and stopping aeration blowers and pump motors; filling
storage tanks; cycling of heating and ventilation systems; and monitoring

Depending on the treatment system, the Year 2000 problem may not exist (no
automation), may exist only in specific pieces of equipment (some
automation), or may exist not only in equipment but also in a Supervisory
Control and Data Acquisition System -SCADA - (full automation). Any
drinking water or wastewater treatment system which might have equipment
with this problem should assess plant operations and perform any needed
repairs. "

-- Brian (imager@ampsc.com), March 17, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ