401 KAR 8:040 Laboratory Certification
KRC is concerned with the proposed modification to Section 1 that would allow the Cabinet to contract with private parties to evaluate laboratories and make recommendations to the cabinet for certification. Privatization of essential government services such as the review of the capabilities and performance of laboratories that will potentially be certified to analyze and report on the purity of public and semi-public drinking water supplies, places this governmental function outside of direct public control and accountability. Privatization of such review functions also eliminates or lessens in-house capability to perform such tasks, resulting in dependency on outside contractors. Additionally, potential conflicts of interest exist where any consulting firm has represented clients before the agency or has performed analytical or consulting functions for those regulated by the agency.
For these reasons, KRC opposes the proposed amendment to Section 1 and respectfully suggests that the cabinet withdraw the language and continue to utilize agency staff to evaluate the eligibility of laboratories for certification.
The new language in Section 2(1)(a) implies that a laboratory can request certification for only one contaminant group. The phrase “A statement of the contaminant group…” should be replaced with “A statement of each contaminant group…”
The new phrasing in Section 5 appears to compel the Cabinet to issue certifications for all laboratories. “The cabinet shall certify” should be replaced with “The cabinet shall require certification for”
401 KAR 8:070; 8:150; 8:250, 8:550
401 KAR 8:075 Consumer Confidence Reports
In order to better inform the public of concentrations of pollutants above health-based goals, the consumer confidence reports should be modified to report detectable concentrations of any contaminant, and should include both the applicable maximum contaminant level goals and the MCLs or the contaminant. Recognizing that the MCLs are not health-based, but instead are a compromised standard that considers cost and technology, the public has a right to know how well the local water utility is performing in achieving a water quality compared to the health-based standard.
401 KAR 8:160 Enhanced Filtration and Disinfection For Large Systems Serving At Least 10,000 People
KRC recommends that the Cabinet extend the requirements for advanced filtration and disinfection that are currently proposed for systems serving greater than 10,000 people, to all smaller systems. Where a utility holds itself out as providing drinking water for human consumption and potable and other beneficial use, the public has a legitimate expectation that the quality of that water supply will be the same, whether the individual resides in a major urban area or a smaller rural community. The tiering of obligations based on population served rather than the quality of the source water and relative possibility that the source water will contain viruses, giardia, legionella, and Cryptosporidia, or have elevated chlorides, bromides or turbidity so as to increase the possibility of creation of disinfection byproducts, is irrational from a public health standpoint. Ironically, many of the source water supplies for smaller rural communities are more directly affected by runoff from farmland, and the raw water supplies are potentially at greater risk of having higher turbidity and higher concentrations of Cryptosporidia.
KRC urges the agency to extend the full range of requirements on proposed 8:160 for advanced filtration and disinfection to all public and semi-public providers without regard to population served, and to work with the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority to provide financing necessary for upgrading those water works. Alternatively, any tiering that is allowed in the requirement to provide advanced treatment should be based on an assessment of the source water supplies and contamination risks rather than the arbitrary population-based threshold of 10,000 persons.
Thank you in advance for your consideration of these comments.