standards23coverWater emergencies — such as the ongoing crisis in Flint, Michigan — reflect the need for stringent water standards nationwide to protect communities from the health effects of contaminated water. A recent Natural Resources Defense Council study found nearly 80,000 violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act affecting all states. It revealed that the drinking water of nearly 1 in 4 Americans comes from untested or contaminated systems.

Whether the cause is hydraulic fracturing, agricultural runoff, chemical spills, neglected water infrastructure, climate change events or any of 100 or more contaminants, the health of our water systems is always at risk. Testing, monitoring, reporting and enforcement of federal clean water regulations are all key if we are to assure the safety of America’s drinking water. This requires proper funding — and a valid and recognized basis for control and evaluation.

First line of defense
Laboratories that support public water systems serve as the first line of defense against contamination. They depend upon up-to-date, accurate and consistent, Environmental Protection Agency-approved methods to analyze water samples. Since 1905, the analytical methods developed by the Standard Methods Committee have been the most widely respected and globally utilized.

Detailed in the newly updated, 23rd edition of “Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater,” each of the 390 methods is reviewed and endorsed by the hundreds of qualified water and wastewater professionals on the committee. “Standard Methods” is published jointly by the American Public Health Association, the American Water Works Association and the Water Environment Federation and reflects the latest developments in water analysis and emerging priorities in water safety.

“All the information a user needs for water analysis is found in one book,” said Steve Posavec, a former “Standard Methods” technical information manager for AWWA. “And those who purchase the book will receive a code for a free, one-year trial of www.standardmethods.org for online access to the latest methods without having to wait for the next print edition.” Subscribers also benefit from the site’s online community of experts with whom they can exchange ideas, share experiences and find solutions.

New and improved
The expanded version of “Standard Methods” features more than 80 revised methods and five new methods useful not only to water and wastewater professionals, but also to public health workers. Significant additions include a new method to test for pharmaceuticals and personal care products in drinking water, as well as new and more realistic photos to help users identify aquatic organisms.

Central to the book are quality control methods used in laboratory testing, as they play an important role in preventing water-borne infections and keeping people safe from a range of illnesses in compliance with EPA. “Quality control is absolutely essential to ensure each method produces accurate results that help protect public health,” said Eileen O’Neill, executive director of WEF. “‘Standard Methods’ continues to serve as a vital resource for water and wastewater analysis worldwide,” said Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of APHA.

To order “Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater,” 23rd edition, call toll-free 888-320-APHA, email aphapress@apha.org or visit the APHA Bookstore.