The EPA has proposed new rules regarding monitoring of contaminants by water utilities. On Feb. 22, EPA Acting Administrator Jane Nishida signed the proposed fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 5). EPA is submitting it for publication in the Federal Register. Interested utilities should submit comments within 60 days of publication.

The UCMR 5 arises under the auspices of the Safe Drinking Water Act. As currently proposed, it would require all community and non-transient, non-community water systems serving 3,300 or more people to sample for 30 chemical contaminants. The contaminants include lithium and 29 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. Lithium and PFAS are not currently subject to national primary drinking water regulations. The monitoring would not be required immediately but instead would occur between 2023 and 2025.

EPA states that the rule is meant to provide the agency, states and communities “with scientifically valid data on the national occurrence of these contaminants in drinking water,” and “would provide new data that is critically needed to improve EPA’s understanding of the frequency” that these PFAS are found in drinking water.

EPA will accept public comment on the proposed UCMR 5 for 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. EPA will also host two virtual meetings this year to discuss the proposed rule. The meeting scope will include:

  • Proposed monitoring requirements
  • Analyte selection
  • Analytical methods
  • Laboratory approval process
  • Ground water representative monitoring plans