Biological Monitoring

Detection of any source of contamination is not straightforward, because many contaminants are not visible and may have no discernible odor. The majority of water supply surveillance effort is directed toward natural contamination at the supply sources, focusing on chemical detection compared with specific biological organisms. A good source of information on testing for drinking water contaminants is the EPA Web site (EPA, 2005b). The water delivery system is often cited as a major point of vulnerability, because multiple access sites exist in the distribution chain and are downstream of any early warning or monitoring system currently in practice (Figure 9.3) (United States Government Accountability Office, 2004). Intentional contamination at this point of the supply chain can go unnoticed until illness in the general public is identified. The reality is that without more comprehensive

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