EPA Action to Address PFAS in Drinking Water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently finalized the Fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 5).

Based on UCMR 5, published in the Federal Register on Dec. 27, certain public water systems will collect new data from their drinking water on 29 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)  and the EPA will hold multiple meetings for stakeholders in 2022.

The EPA monitors for priority unregulated contaminants in drinking water every five years under the UCMR, and UCMR 5 will provide EPA with more information on the frequency and amount of PFAS (and lithium) found in the nation’s drinking water systems.

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) requires all drinking water systems serving between 3,300 and 10,000 people to participate in UCMR and a representative sample of systems serving fewer than 3,300 people to participate, subject to funding availability and laboratory capacity. The five-year UCMR 5 period covers 2022–2026. The 29 PFAS covered are those under EPA Methods 533 and 537.1, which have been validated by the EPA for drinking water analysis.

The EPA also indicated UCMR 5 will (1) improve its ability to conduct state and regional assessments of contamination, enabling analyses of potential environmental justice impacts on disadvantaged communities, and (2) provide information for systems with infrastructure funding needs for emerging contaminant remediation.

The EPA will hold two virtual webinars for stakeholders on March 16 and 17.  Details on these meetings and anticipated future meetings can be found on EPA’s website. Topics to be covered include implementation planning, sample collection best practices, and  data reporting.

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