EPA Offers Several Water Contaminant Tools

Over the past several years, EPA has released three related tools available to assist water utilities, state primacy agencies, laboratories, public health officials, and others responsible for water safety: WCIT; National Environmental Methods Index for Chemical, Biological, and Radiological Methods (NEMI-CBR); and Standardized Analytical Methods (SAM).

Although each tool is a unique resource to the water sector, all three contain analytical methods for detecting chemical, biological, and radiological contaminants.

WCIT, NEMI-CBR, and SAM serve different primary purposes. WCIT and NEMI-CBR provide multiple methods per contaminant, while SAM lists one method for each contaminant/matrix combination.

  • The purpose of WCIT is to provide comprehensive data on a select list of approximately 100 contaminants that pose a serious threat if introduced into drinking water systems, either intentionally or accidentally. In addition to analytical methods, WCIT provides other information to identify contaminants (e.g., basic properties, fate and transport data, and medical and toxicity information). The analytical methods listed in WCIT only include EPA-approved methods.
  • NEMI-CBR contains more methods than WCIT, some of which are not EPA-approved methods, and provides a mechanism to compare and contrast the performance, speed, and relative cost of multiple analytical methods that can be used by any laboratory. NEMI-CBR contains both confirmatory and screening techniques. The companion CBR Advisor is also housed within NEMI-CBR.
  • The purpose of SAM is to standardize the analytical procedures that are used by EPA and its certified laboratories for measuring and confirming the presence of a contaminant. SAM assumes that the analyte has already been identified and focuses on confirmation, quantification, risk assessment, and remediation.

To access these tools, visit https://cdx.epa.gov/warning.asp. To access SAM, visit www.epa.gov/sam.

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