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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release December 29, 1999 (202) 456-7035

     Washington, D.C. - Vice President Al Gore today announced that for the

first time, the public will have access to "real-time" information about the quality of their local drinking water. A new Internet site piloted by the Des Moines Water Works and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will allow the public to obtain up-to-the-minute information on the concentration of individual contaminants in Des Moines' drinking water.

"America's families deserve timely, useful, and accurate environmental and public health information," said Vice President Al Gore. "This new web site is just one example how we can improve the public's right to know, so that the public can use environmental information to make decisions that protect their health and the health of their families."

The new drinking water web site, found at, was developed by the Des Moines Water Works as part of the Administration's Environmental Monitoring for Public Access to Community Tracking - or EMPACT - program. EMPACT aims to work with communities to make easily understandable environmental information available.

The new Des Moines Water Works/EMPACT web site provides drinking water information in an user-friendly format and makes it readily available to the general public. Specifically, the site provides the public with access to information on individual contaminants in Des Moines' drinking water supply as it leaves the treatment plant. This information can be accessed over any period of time and in variety of formats, including both tables and graphs. The site also provides helpful information on each contaminant, including potential public health impacts and existing EPA standards.

In addition, the site provides access to other useful drinking water information, including answers to frequently asked questions, information on the treatment processes and source waters used by the Des Moines Water Works. The site also provides on-line access to the new Consumer Confidence Report required by the 1996 Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act as signed by President Clinton.

The Des Moines Water Works/EMPACT site is a model system for real-time public access to local drinking water and public health information. This new system, as developed through EPA's EMPACT program, can now serve as a model and be used by other drinking water systems around the country to improve the public's access to timely and accurate information about the quality of their drinking water.