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Chromium-6

The Chicago Department of Water Management has begun quarterly monitoring for chromium-6. Federal regulators and the drinking water industry are presently researching chromium-6, also referred to as hexavalent chromium, in an attempt to discover at what levels it might pose a health risk in drinking water. Chromium-6 is a naturally occurring contaminant and an industrial chemical that has been linked to cancer.

Currently, there are no regulations or requirements to test for chromium-6 in drinking water.  The EPA did issue a guidance statement on January 11, 2011. That statement recommended surface water systems like Chicago sample the source water, plant treated water, and water in the distribution system on a quarterly basis.

The Chicago Department of Water Management is voluntarily following the EPA’s recommendations. The EPA is developing a risk assessment for chromium-6 via ingestion; results should be available later this year. The risk assessment will form the basis of any regulations that may be developed for this element. The Chicago Department of Water Management is prepared to respond, immediately to any new regulations, for chromium-6, to protect public health and meet federal and state water quality standards.