The Scan-Watch-Action Approach To Emerging Contaminants
By Erica Brown and Andrew Rak
Like water utilities, the Department of Defense keeps a close eye on emerging contaminants; here’s how they do it.
Emerging contaminants (ECs) are among the many issues the water community tracks with great interest. Stakeholders — water agencies, research organizations, associations, laboratories, and interested community members — monitor legislative and regulatory initiatives, factor in public perception, and develop methods for risk communication. Water utilities often consider strategic risk management investments that reduce the potential for adverse health effects while allowing for the continued provision of a quality product and service. Advance notice of pending requirements enables these stakeholders to make the correct strategic investments to mitigate risk.
This concept of strategic risk management is precisely what the Department of Defense (DoD) is implementing with its EC program. The program was initiated in 2006 to be a proactive, over-the-horizon early warning system. The program is operated by personnel within DoD’s Environmental Readiness and Safety Directorate with contractor and staff support from the U.S. Army Public Health Command, Institute for Public Health.