Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Arsenic Edict To Cost N.M.

Byline: Tania Soussan and Dan McKay Journal Staff Writers

Millions Needed For EPA Water Rules

New Mexico communities will be forced to spend as much as $424 million to meet a dramatically tougher federal standard for arsenic in drinking water announced Wednesday.

The Environmental Protection Agency set the arsenic standard at 10 parts per billion one-fifth the old standard.

All water systems, whether in the city of Albuquerque or smaller, community systems in rural areas, have until 2006 to meet the standard.

New Mexico water officials and members of the state's congressional delegation were quick to say the new standard is too strict and unsupported by scientific evidence. They said it would cost communities far too much to treat water to remove the arsenic.

And they said the standard was rushed into effect to beat the end of the Clinton term on Saturday. …

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