EPA To Require Monitoring for Unregulated Contaminants

Approximately 4,000 public water systems (PWS) will monitor drinking water for up to 25 unregulated chemicals -- actions required by the second scheduled review under EPA's Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR).

Results from the monitoring will provide EPA with information about the frequency and levels at which these contaminants are found in drinking water systems across the United States. The information will help determine whether regulations are needed to protect public health.

"Through continuous monitoring and research, EPA collects the information needed to make effective policy decisions," said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Benjamin H. Grumbles. "Good policy is fundamental to protecting public health and the environment."

The Safe Drinking Water Act requires EPA to identify up to 30 contaminants for monitoring every five years. The first cycle, UCMR 1, was published in 1999 and covered 25 chemicals and one microorganism. The new rule (UCMR2), announced on Dec. 20, 2006, requires systems to monitor for contaminants that are not regulated under existing law.

EPA selected the contaminants that will be monitored through a process that included a review of:

  • EPA's Contaminant Candidate List, which contains priority contaminants that are researched to make decisions about whether regulations are needed. The contaminants on the list are known or anticipated to occur in public water systems. However, they are unregulated by existing national drinking water regulations.
  • Additional contaminants of concern based on current research about occurrence and various health-risk factors.

Sampling under the new rule will occur from 2008 to 2010, and five analytical methods will be used. Costs for the UCMR2 will total about $44.3 million. EPA will conduct and pay for the monitoring for those water systems serving 10,000 people or fewer at a cost of $9 million.

For more information, go to http://www.epa.gov/safewater/ucmr/ucmr2.

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