The major oil companies are back in litigation after the failure of current treatment technologies to remove MTBE contamination in residential drinking water supplies, the Department of Defense is litigating over the failure to reliably remove Perchlorate, and new EPA regulations for reduction of TTHM residuals, resulting from mandatory chlorine and bromide disinfection in municipal drinking water, begin this year — requiring expensive retro-fit of municipal water treatment plants, at a time when most municipalities have operating budget tax revenue deficits.
EPA has found all three contaminants potentially carcinogenic, with chronic exposure. Current class-action litigation is focused on “Big Oil”. This ‘deep pockets’ source of profits for the legal litigation industry is fast coming to a close, with the recent $423M settlement over MTBE. So – where will they “strike” next? We’re betting they’ll target , manufacturers, distributors, and installers of residential water treatment systems.
The residential water treatment industry has relied on reverse osmosis (RO), chlorine, bromide, ozone, UV and activated carbon filtration for disinfection and removal of various contaminants from municipal surface and subsurface water sources. However, all these treatment regimes are failing to reliably remove the ‘Big Three’ contaminants – TTHM, MTBE, and Perchlorate. In some cases, especially for TTHM created from the chemical oxidation of organics – they actually increase contaminant levels!
New academic and governmental reports are being published monthly highlighting this failure — while environmental regulators and politicians point fingers and call for more restrictive environmental policies, treatment standards, increased enforcement, and eventually, class action litigation.