In January, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it was cracking down on companies that use unlicensed water purifiers.
Now the Department of Health and Human Services is asking for a report from those companies on whether the water they use is clean enough to be sold to the public.
A group of water purifier manufacturers and distributors is asking HHS for the report to determine whether the products meet the Clean Water Act’s requirements to sell to the general public.
The report, which was sent to the Department last week, does not look into whether the companies should be required to get government approval for the products.
The EPA’s report does suggest that companies should have to get federal approval before selling to the market.
The EPA’s own report, however, has not yet said whether that is required or whether the requirements could be waived if the products are clean enough.
“If the EPA’s proposed rule would require companies to obtain government approval before making a sale to the retail market, the EPA would not be required under the Clean Air Act to provide this information,” said Karen A. Smith, a staff attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, which filed the complaint.
The department, in a letter to the groups, also noted that the report will “provide additional information about the adequacy of the products and their quality.”
The companies that filed the lawsuit include Pure Water, which sells bottled water to hospitals and schools, and its parent company American Pure Water.
Pure Water sells bottled and non-bottled water to consumers for $2.75 per gallon, but the companies argue that the products do not meet the EPA standard of being “clean enough to sell.”
The companies said the products must be “fully sanitized” before they are sold to consumers.
“Pure Water has a long history of compliance with federal, state and local water quality standards,” the companies wrote.
“These standards have resulted in our products meeting or exceeding EPA requirements for purity and safety.
Our products have also been proven to reduce water consumption and reduce harmful environmental effects.”
We are encouraged by the EPA guidance that clarifies that manufacturers of purified water must obtain the necessary EPA approval before the sale of purified bottled water.
This guidance is necessary in order to ensure that purified water products meet or exceed EPA standards for purity, safety and sanitization.
“In an email, a Pure Water spokesperson said that the company would not comment on the case.