EPA Plans Expedited Process for Approving Methods to Test Contaminants

EPA plans to implement an expedited process for approving alternative testing methods for existing regulations governing drinking water contaminants.

According to a April 10 Federal Register notice, this expedited approach will provide public water systems, laboratories and primacy agencies with more timely access to new measurement techniques and greater flexibility in the selection of analytical methods.

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) authorizes EPA to approve the use of alternative testing methods through publication of a notice in the Federal Register instead of through rulemaking procedures, agency officials stated. EPA plans to use this streamlined authority to make additional methods available for analyzing drinking water compliance and unregulated contaminant monitoring samples.

Analytical methods are approved by EPA to support three types of drinking water monitoring. Under the SDWA, EPA establishes national primary drinking water regulations that specify maximum contaminant levels or treatment techniques for drinking water contaminants. SDWA also authorizes EPA to establish national secondary drinking water regulations for contaminants in drinking water that primarily affect the aesthetic qualities relating to public acceptance of drinking water.

EPA is seeking comments on implementation aspects of the expedited method approval process. For additional information, see the Federal Register notice at http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-WATER/2007/April/Day-10/w6726.htm.

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