Researchers at the University of Iowa have completed a three-part study on, “The Economics of Place-based Monitoring Under the Safe Drinking Water Act.” The research proposes that testing should take into account the local geography in order to become more effective and less costly.
In the study the researchers looked at the water supply of 19 Iowa communities. They compared historical records to determine that there are 19 contaminants that are likely to be in the water due to agricultural sources, however the Safe Drinking Water Act required the monitoring of more than 90 contaminants.
The researchers say that taking into account geography and history would result in better and cheaper monitoring for not only water, but all 12 major laws that are administered by the Environmental Protection Agency.
It’s easily understood why place-based monitoring hasn’t been a matter of policy in the past. But we’re now at a point where technology and accurate historical data could greatly increase the efficiency and accuracy of our environmental monitoring. Factoring in place and history would save time and money in our monitoring, and would allow for an investment in sensors and systems that could automate these processes.
The study by Raj Rajagopal, geography professor, and Ed Brands, adjunct assistant professor of geography and international programs, at the University of Iowa, has recently been published in the Springer journal Environmental Monitoring and Assessment.