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WCIT: EPA's Online Tool to Plan for and Respond to Wastewater System Contamination Events

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Abstract:

In November 2006, EPA added data on wastewater treatment for the 93 contaminants in the Water Contaminant Information Tool (WCIT). This presentation will describe how wastewater treatment facilities and agencies can use WCIT to enhance their preparation for and response to intentional or accidental events. This includes events that may have resulted from the introduction of highly toxic chemicals or bioterrorism agents directly to stormwater or wastewater collection systems or drinking water contamination events.

WCIT is a powerful information resource for wastewater utilities, public health officials, and agencies responsible for the safety of our water supplies. First introduced in late 2005, WCIT is a password-protected online database that currently contains peer-reviewed information on contaminants of concern, including: chemical, biological and radiological substances that pose a serious threat if introduced into wastewater or drinking water systems. Since WCIT's launch, hundreds of wastewater and drinking water agencies have registered with EPA to use this tool.

Because some of the contaminants listed in WCIT are unregulated, little information has been published on the treatment of these contaminants by traditional primary and secondary wastewater treatment options. However, where available, EPA has been able to identify wastewater treatment information from scientific literature and from government agency reports, including U.S. Department of Defense studies. The treatment processes described in WCIT range from conventional treatments with demonstrated effectiveness in operating wastewater treatment plants and pilot plants to laboratory methodologies, including bench scale studies.

The wastewater treatment data in WCIT are extensive, covering performance, study conditions, consideration affecting process performance, and byproducts or treatment residuals. In addition, where data are available, WCIT indicates whether contaminants have the potential to negatively affect traditional wastewater treatment processes. Lastly, WCIT provides data on the impacts of a contaminant on receiving water, sludge disposal, or other environmental media.

This manuscript provides details on types of data in WCIT, user system functionality, the WCIT application tools, and how to become a registered WCIT user.

Keywords: CONTAMINATION; DECONTAMINATION; EMERGENCY RESPONSE; PUBLIC HEALTH; SECURITY; VULNERABILITY; WASTEWATER TREATMENT

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2175/193864707787168413

Publication date: 2007-10-01

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