The US EPA Office of Water has released the reference document “Containment and Disposal of Large Amounts of Contaminated Water: A Support Guide for Water Utilities”. The guide is intended to help water utilities prepare for and respond to a contamination event when rapid decision making and action is required. The guidance is applicable primarily at drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities, and makes recommendations for addressing chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) contamination events. Secondary users of the guide are decision makers involved with planning and disposal at federal, state, local, and tribal levels.
According to EPA, the guide is a voluntary document that is not legally enforceable, and contains broad recommendations that may be adapted to specific situations or incidents. It includes references to statutes and regulations, but does not change or substitute for any legal requirements.
The guide provides an overview of the issues associated with containment, treatment, and disposal of contaminated water after a decision to contain the water has been made, including:
- Potential types of containment;
- Potential treatment methods;
- Potential disposal options and associated considerations; and
- Information on some of the key relevant statutes and regulations that may be applicable for containment and disposal.
According to EPA, the guide is not intended to provide recommendations on initial response activities immediately following a confirmed contamination incident; or source water, such as ground water or surface water that has not entered the drinking water, wastewater, or stormwater system.