Jan 16, 2017

EPA Releases Protective Action Guide for Radiological Incidents

PAG triggers safety measures for drinking water

epa, pag, guide, radiological incident, emergency, drinking water, safety

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a non-regulatory Protective Action Guide (PAG) to help officials determine the best way to prevent the public from experiencing the harmful effects from radiation in drinking water during an emergency.

During a radiological emergency, such as an accident at a nuclear power plant, radioactive material can be released into the environment. This radioactive material could get into rivers, lakes and streams that are used by public water suppliers to deliver drinking water to local residents.

The drinking water Protective Action Guide (PAG) is a level that can be used to determine when alternative drinking water should be provided and when the use of contaminated water supplies should be restricted. The drinking water PAG are doses of radiation that should be avoided during an emergency event. They do not represent acceptable routine exposures. PAGs trigger safety measures—in this case, provision of alternative drinking water—to keep doses to the public as low as possible during emergency situations only.

The purpose of EPA’s PAG for Radiological Incidents is to guide the short-term planning and decision-making efforts by local and state officials. It is not intended for long-term or everyday use. The proposed PAG does not affect EPA’s drinking water standards for radionuclides. Therefore, affected public water systems are expected to take actions to return to compliance with drinking water standards after a radiological emergency as soon as practicable.

For more information, visit https://blog.epa.gov/blog/2017/01/epa-providing-guidance-for-drinking-water-after-radiological-emergency.