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chapter 14 - Drinking Water treatment and Distribution

  • Water Infrastructure Security Enhancement (WISE) Guidelines drafted for the Physical Security of Water/Wastewater Utilities by national water and wastewater organizations. It provides recommendations for the management, operation, construction, and retrofit of water and wastewater treatment plants and distribution/ collection systems to enhance physical security. The WISE Guidelines can be found at the following Web page: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/certlic/drinkingwater/Pages/ Security.aspx

WARN systems facilitate a utilities-helping-utilities approach to providing assistance during times of crisis. By establishing mutual aid agreements before a crisis occurs, WARN participants pave the way for member utilities within (and outside) of their respective states to send valuable aid in a quick and efficient manner. WARN participants can access specialized resources to assess and assist water and wastewater systems until such time as the system can develop a permanent operating solution.

Existing and Emerging Contaminants

New contaminants in drinking water are often discovered and then regulated because of increased pollution, improved analytical abilities, and/or understanding of health effects. Media attention to a particular contaminant has also resulted in a legislative response to address or speed up the regulatory process. Examples of these include hexavalent chromium (Chrome-6) and pharmaceuticals and personal care products. In addition, the health effects of many known contaminants are re-evaluated, and reregulated, in light of new information. For many emerging contaminants, such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products, there may not yet be a full understanding of the health risks and available treatment technologies to remove them from drinking water. For such contaminants, the pollution prevention and matching water quality to water use resource strategies will help address water quality concerns while additional information is gathered. For pharmaceuticals and personal care products, control of discharge to the environment is the best initial approach (via source control programs and reduction through wastewater treatment) rather than relying on treatment of drinking water.

Emerging contaminants may be created by treatment itself, for instance, when water utilities implement new methods or processes for disinfecting water that may create new disinfection byproducts. For some contaminants, treatment options may be available, but may be relatively expensive.


Because of the importance of drinking water, there is strong interest from many groups to promote improvements to the drinking water treatment and distribution facilities, operation, and management. These groups include:

  • Water system managers and operators

  • Local governmental agencies—city, county, planning

caLifoRnia WateR PLan | update 2009


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