The Environmental Science of Drinking Water


  • Patrick Sullivan, Partner, Forensic Management Associates, San Mateo, CA
  • Franklin Agardy, President, Forensic Management Associates, San Mateo, CA
  • James Clark, Soil/Water/Air/Protection Enterprise, Santa Monica, CA

In today’s chemically dependent society, environmental studies demonstrate that drinking water in developed countries contains numerous industrial chemicals, pesticides, pharmaceuticals and chemicals from water treatment processes. This poses a real threat. As a result of the ever-expanding list of chemical and biochemical products industry, current drinking water standards that serve to preserve our drinking water quality are grossly out of date. Environmental Science of Drinking Water demonstrates why we need to make a fundamental change in our approach toward protecting our drinking water. Factual and circumstantial evidence showing the failure of current drinking water standards to adequately protect human health is presented along with analysis of the extent of pollution in our water resources and drinking water. The authors also present detail of the currently available state-of-the-art technologies which, if fully employed, can move us toward a healthier future.
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Environmental engineers, geologists, hydrologists, professionals and practitioners in public health, urban planning, science policy, ecology, soil science, agronomy, public health, natural resource management, urban planning, environmental consultants, public interest groups and county, city, state and federal state regulatory agencies.


Book information

  • Published: July 2005
  • ISBN: 978-0-7506-7876-6


"... this tome brings together a variety of intellectual arguments, case examples, and common sense to support the author’s theses. And the book is extremely readable by technos and laypersons alike." California/Nevada Section AWWA. Winter 2002, p. 31 "An excellent compilation of fact, case study, policy analysis, opinion and good old-fashioned common sense." Shawna Bourne, Certified Inspector of Public Health, Ontario Ministry of the Environment "... an excellent job compiling an overview of drinking water quality, water pollution, water protection, and living with the risk of polluted water ..." Dr. Stu F. Asay, P.E. in Drinking Water & Backflow Prevention, December 2005

Table of Contents

ForewardPrefaceAcknowledgements1. The Water We DrinkNatural WaterWater and the Public HealthReferences2. Water PollutionHuman Waste and PollutionIndustrial PollutionWastewater Control and TreatmentNonpoint Sources of Water PollutionPollution Sources and Water QualitySummary References3. Water ProtectionThe Basics of Water SupplyBasic Water TreatmentBeyond Basic Water TreatmentAn Issue of EqualityChemical Monitoring and Warnings for Regulated PollutantsThe National Drinking Water Contaminant Occurrence DatabaseUnregulated Pollutants and Monitoring RegulationsSetting New Drinking Water StandardsWhy Consumers Should be ConcernedApproaches to Mitigate Chemical ExposureWater Pollution and RiskReferences4. Living with the Risk of Polluted WaterThe Burden of ProofPermissible PollutionThe Dose Makes the PoisonBasic Concepts of DoseMechanism of ToxicityBiotransformation and DetoxificationToxicity and Defining StandardsTiming is EverythingEndocrine-Disrupting ChemicalsPharmaceutical PollutantsPharmaceuticals Detected in the EnvironmentLiving with RiskPopulation, Pollution, Risk, and PrecautionThe Risk Assessment ProcessSummaryReferences5. Managing Risk and Drinking Water QualityLearning from the Past and PresentRisk and EconomicsAn Alternative ApproachConsumer-Based ProtectionPotential Action by the Water IndustryPotential Governmental ActionsAn Alternative Risk Management ProgramReferencesAppendix 1-1 Average Elemental Abundance in the Earth’s CrustAppendix 1-2 Chemical Compounds with Established Water Quality CriteriaAppendix 1-3 USEPA National Recommended Water Quality Criteria for Freshwater and Human Consumption of Water + Organism: 2002Appendix 2-1 Dow Industrial Chemicals, Solvents and Dyes in 1938Appendix 2-2 USEPA List of Priority PollutantsAppendix 2-3 Summary of Surface Water DataAppendix 2-4 Summary of Shallow Groundwater DataAppendix 2-5 Organic Chemicals Found in Landfill Leachate and GasAppendix 2-6 Unregulated Pollutants Discharged to or Identified in Water ResourcesAppendix 2-7 Chemicals Known to the State of California to Cause Cancer or Reproductive ToxicityAppendix 2-8 Regulated Pesticides in Food with Residue TolerancesAppendix 2-9 Comparison of Chemicals Required to be Monitored in Groundwater by RCRAAppendix 3-1 General Drinking Water Monitoring and Warning Requirements (as of 2002)Appendix 3-2 National Drinking Water Contaminant Occurrence Database Data on Primary Water Quality Standards (May 18, 2001)Appendix 3-3 National Drinking Water Contaminant Occurrence Database: Data on Unregulated CompoundsAppendix 3-4 Examples of Bottled Mineral Water ChemistryAppendix 3-5 Examples of Bottled Water ChemistryAppendix 3-6 Trace Element Analysis of Mineral Waters (ppb) That Appear in Either Appendix 3-4 or Appendix 3-5Appendix 4-1 Glossary of Terms Adapted from the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) (1993)Appendix 4-2 Chemical Examples on the Toxicology of Drinking Water StandardsAppendix 4-3 Suspected Endocrine-Disrupting ChemicalsAppendix 4-4 U.S. Geological Survey Target Compounds, National Reconnaissance of Emerging Contaminants in U.S. Streams (2000)GlossaryIndex