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Professor Robin Craig teaches water law at the Florida State University College of Law. Here’s what she had to say about more aspects of water regulation likely to change under the new president’s administration.
The Obama administration is going to want to go after “emerging contaminants”: water pollutants that haven’t really been addressed well yet under the Clean Water Act (CWA).
Pharmaceuticals: A lot of prescription drugs end up in the water supply by one means or another. Either they’re flushed down toilets or people excrete them, but they end up in the water supply. A lot of them are hormone mimickers, and they’ve been detected as inducing morphological changes in fish and other aquatic organisms. And they’ve also been detected in drinking water. This is a problem that probably will be addressed under both the Safe Drinking Water Act and the CWA.
On the corporate side, it may end up resulting in changes in the effluent limitations for drug manufacturers. There will [also] probably be a public education campaign to encourage people not to flush things.
Nutrients: [Chemicals] like nitrogen compounds and phosphorus compounds have been known to be a problem for a long time. Nutrients tend to come off of farms, which is going to be a problem, but also out of sewage treatment plants
Perchlorate: The most common source [for this] is rocket fuel, and it has been detected in drinking water in various locations. Two major problems: It interferes with the ability of your thyroid to take in iodine and it interferes with fetal development. It has kind of become a poster chemical for chemicals that are out there affecting water supplies. The Safe Drinking Water Act standards are not what they need to be.