UPDATE
                                                xvEPA
October 2009
                                  WATER CONTAMINANT INFORMATION TOOL
Over the past several years, EPA has released three related tools avail-
able to assist water utilities, state primacy agencies, laboratories, public
health officials and others responsible for water safety: WCIT, NEMI-CBR
(National Environmental Methods Index for Chemical, Biological, and
Radiological Methods),  and Standardized Analytical Methods (SAM).
Although each tool is a unique  resource to the water sector, all three
contain analytical methods for detecting chemical, biological and radio-
logical contaminants. So how are these tools related, and when should
you use  each of them?

WCIT, NEMI-CBR, and SAM serve different primary purposes. WCIT and
NEMI-CBR provide multiple methods per contaminant, while SAM lists
one method for each contaminant/matrix combination.

 The purpose of WCIT is to provide comprehensive data on a select list
  of approximately 100 contaminants that pose a serious threat if intro-
  duced into drinking water systems, either intentionally or accidentally.
  In addition to analytical methods, WCIT provides other information to
  identify contaminants (e.g., basic properties, fate and transport data,
  and medical and toxicity information). The analytical methods listed
  in WCIT only include EPA-approved methods.

 NEMI-CBR contains more methods than WCIT, some of which are not
  EPA-approved methods, and provides a mechanism to compare and
  contrast the performance, speed, and relative cost of multiple analytical
  methods that can be used by any laboratory. NEMI-CBR contains both
  confirmatory and screening techniques. The companion  CBR Advisor
  (see Toolbox column) is also housed within NEMI-CBR.

 The purpose of SAM is to standardize the analytical procedures that are
  used by EPA and its certified laboratories for measuring and confirm-
  ing the presence of a contaminant. SAM assumes that the analyte has
  already been identified and focuses on confirmation,  quantification,
  risk assessment, and remediation.
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 FEATURES
 Number of contaminants

 Multiple methods per contaminant

 Screening methods

 Confirmatory methods
 Performance, speed and relative cost of
 analytical methods
 Advisor to help find analytical methods

 Trade and common names

 Treatment and decontamination methods

 Utility response considerations

 Medical and toxicity information

 First aid procedures

 Early warning and environmental indicators
WCIT    NEMI-CBR   SAM
 97
                                            2,909
207
                              INSIDE
                                THE
                                                                       TOOLBOX
   CBR Advisor:
    Expert System for
 Planning and Response
The CBR Advisor is an expert system
companion within NEMI-CBR that
enables users to obtain advice when
responding to a water contamina-
tion incident and to access detailed
information for planning and training
purposes. Incorporating information
modules from EPA's Response Pro-
tocol Toolbox, the  CBR Advisor pro-
vides easy access to vital response
information, including the following:
 How to classify threat warnings
 Initial threat evaluation and im-
 mediate response operations
 How to collect, package, and ship
 samples of hazardous materials
The CBR  Advisor also includes
tables that quickly provide advice
on recommended analytical meth-
ods for  a  particular contaminant
(i.e., response versus confirmation/
monitoring needs).

The CBR Advisor uses a dual-screen
format - the left  screen contains
Questions and Answers (Q&A), while
the right screen provides additional
information, definitions, and links to
forms associated with each question
to assist users. Each menu is color
coded based on intended use: red
for responding to an incident and
blue for training and planning.

Check out the CBR Advisor by se-
lecting "Consult the CBR Advisor..."
in  the NEMI-CBR column on the
right-hand  side of the home page.
                        Office of Water  EPA817-N-09-001  October 2009 -www.epa.gov/watersecurity

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                                     WCIT UPDATE  October 2009
     Making Public Health Decisions

                     with WCIT

                          Public water systems  face con-
                          tamination threats from chemical,
                          biological, and radiochemical con-
                          taminants that may be introduced
                          into a facility. Public health of-
                          ficials need access to information
                          to assist with contaminant identi-
                          fication  and understand possible
                          public health effects. Utilities need
                          to decide how to respond to mini-
                          mize both utility worker and public
                          exposure to the contaminated wa-
                          ter. How can these decisions and
                          recommendations be made quickly
                          and confidently?

WCIT can be used as a "one stop shop" to minimize time required
to collect relevant information. The information in  WCIT can
help public health officials and utilities more efficiently confirm
contaminant exposure, assess risk,  and determine a utility's
required or recommended response.

To assist public health officials in managing risk, WCIT provides
historical and projected mortality and morbidity data, symptom
onset time, time available for effective medical treatment, and
toxicity/infectivity information. WCIT's "Utility Response Con-
siderations" field lists items to keep in mind when determining
whether to issue a drinking water  advisory, such  as a "boil
water" order. Limitations associated with use of contaminated
water for activities,  such as firefighting and irrigation, are also
discussed. With this information immediately at hand, public
health officials and utilities can make informed and timely
decisions about safe water use.


WCIT MAILBOX:  Is WCIT available on CD?

How do I take WCIT into the field if it is  not?

WCIT is available to registered users through a secure, on-line
connection.  EPA does not produce a WCIT CD  because it is
difficult to keep data on CDs current. You may, however, take
WCIT into the field for training or other response purposes by
printing reports  containing information for  one  or more con-
taminants. You can do this by selecting a contaminant from
the contaminant index. At the top of the page, select Com-
prehensive Report. Choose File,  Page Set Up on your browser.
Make sure the orientation is Landscape, then print. It is also
important to know that when responding to an incident, EPA
On-Scene Coordinators have access to WCIT and may give that
information to other responders, as appropriate. All data in
WCIT are considered sensitive, so follow secure  handling and
storage procedures for  all WCIT information.
   Send Us Your Feedback. Do you have a question,
   comment, or suggestion for the WCIT Administrator regarding
   WCIT? Please send an email to WCITA@epa.gov.
           WCIT Expanding:
  Four Contaminants to be Added
Over the next few months, EPA will be adding
four new contaminant profiles to WCIT. The new
contaminants are substances that are commonly
present in many drinking water treatment plants
and have been released into drinking water in the
recent past.
Researcher Evaluates

Wastewater Contaminants
Since 2003, the Water  Environment Federation
(WEF) and its research foundation, have engaged
researchers at the University of Pittsburgh in an effort
to identify the most serious chemical, biological, and
radiological contaminants and develop screening
and treatment methodologies. EPA is funding the
research.
University of Pittsburgh re-
searchers,  led by Leonard
W. Casson, Ph.D., P.E., have
presented a prioritized list
of contaminants to EPA  and
WEF.  EPA is working with
WEF to determine which five
contaminants that emerged
from the research  will be
added to WCIT.
"Drinking water systems have
one primary concern and one primary
evaluation endpoint: public health," notes Dr. Cas-
son, who is an  associate professor in the Depart-
ment of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the
University of Pittsburgh.  By contrast, he explains,
wastewater systems have not only the public health
endpoint, but also three other endpoints with po-
tential adverse impacts: physical damage to system
infrastructure, "upsets"  to wastewater treatment
processes, and contaminant pass-through.

Prioritization  Framework Guided Research
The research project has evaluated nearly 150
contaminants by using an eight-criteria prioritization
framework developed for the project. Many of the
contaminants evaluated are of concern for drinking
water,  but the research also addresses substances
such as decontamination agents,  process upset
contaminants, flammable or explosive materials, and
secondary contaminants.
Dr. Casson believes the prioritization framework
can be a useful tool for wastewater systems that are
evaluating contaminants or developing or updat-
ing  their vulnerability assessments or emergency
response plans.
Leonard Casson
                           Office of Water  EPA817-N-09-001  October 2009 -www.epa.gov/watersecurity

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