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Technical Service Center
Water Treatment Group

Water Treatment Primer for Communities in Need

Reclamation has been working with small and Native American communities to assist them in addressing their water quality problems. Many of these communities rely on drinking water supplies containing high levels of dissolved salts and/or other contaminants that may present health risks. Most of these communities do not have the financial resources to obtain professional services for assistance in solving their water quality problems; nor is there sufficient Federal funding to assist these communities. Simple, low-cost treatment methods are often sufficient to bring the community within drinking water standard compliance. To address these water quality and funding issues, Reclamation compiled this Water Treatment Primer for Communities in Need (primer), which includes information about the best available technologies for removal of specific contaminants and about the health risks associated with these contaminants. The primer information will enable the community in need to become proactive in solving their water quality problems and move toward improving their drinking water quality.

The complete primer is available at no cost, either as a downloadable PDF file or as a printed hard copy. To receive a printed copy of the primer, contact us.

This primer is composed of fact sheets describing the basics of contaminant treatment and related matters. These primer fact sheets are resources offered by Reclamation as a means of sharing technical information. The purpose of the contaminant fact sheets is to provide timely and accurate summations of water treatment principles and techniques for various contaminants of concern. The fact sheets are intended as a first source of information for small communities or communities of low economic status, which typically have limited resources. Cooperation with other Federal, State, and local agencies, professional consultants, and water treatment entities in solving the water treatment issue of concern is recommended and encouraged. As research reveals new water treatment techniques, the fact sheets will be revised and updated to reflect state-of-the-art methods for water treatment.

Primer Contents

The current version of the Primer includes the following:

Drinking Water Regulation Fact Sheets

Treatment Technology Fact Sheets

Each of the treatment technology fact sheets contains the following information:

1. Applicable contaminants
2. Description of technology
3. Example treatment train schematic
4. Safety and health concerns

Contaminant Fact Sheets

Each of the contaminant fact sheets contains the following information:

    1. Chemical data, including name, symbol, molecular weight, cation/anion, metal/nonmetal, reactivity, etc.
    2. Source in nature, including sources of contamination in surface and ground water.
    3. SDWA limits, including maximum contaminant level (MCL), MCLG (goal), and (secondary) SMCL limits.
    4. Health effects of contamination.
    1. USEPA BAT, including brief description.
    2. Alternative methods of treatment, including historically common, low cost alternatives.
    3. Related publications.
    4. Safety and health requirements for treatment processes.