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December 9, 2015 | Written by Lauren D. Bernadett
U.S. EPA Proposes New Unregulated Contaminants to Be Monitored in Drinking Water
On November 30, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator signed the fourth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR). UCMRs require public water systems to monitor and collect data for contaminants that are not currently regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), but are suspected to be present in drinking water. The SDWA requires the EPA to issue a new UCMR every five years. The EPA must monitor no more than 30 contaminants in large systems (serving over 10,000 people) and a sample of small systems (serving under 10,000 people). Monitoring results are recorded in a national database, and the EPA uses the results to make future regulatory determinations.
If no changes are made between the draft rule and the final rule, the contaminants that will be monitored under the fourth UCMR include ten cyanotoxin chemical contaminants, two metals, eight pesticides, one pesticide manufacturing byproduct, three brominated haloacetic acid groups, three alcohols, and three semivolatile chemicals. Public water systems will be required to monitor for these contaminants from March 2018 to November 2020. The EPA assigns each contaminant a concentration at which the public water system must report the presence of the contaminant, a general location from which the water must be sampled, and appropriate sampling methods.
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