EPA to suspend Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Requirements for small water systems
The EPA is to suspend the current Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Requirements (UCMR) for small and medium water systems.
The UCMR requires all public water systems to monitor for unregulated contaminants during one year every five years.
The EPA has ruled that systems serving 10,000 or fewer persons do not have to begin the third round of monitoring, scheduled to begin after December 31, 1998, because the latest round of monitoring would overlap with the introduction of a revised UCMR program.
The EPA estimates that the cost for the affected systems to monitor under the existing regulation is $1,778,000 each year.
Under the current UMCR, systems serving more than 10,000 persons began their third round of monitoring for unregulated contaminants on January 1, 1998.
Systems serving 3,301 -10,000 persons were scheduled to begin the third round of monitoring on January 1 1999, affecting 3,410 US systems. Systems serving less than 3,301 persons were scheduled to begin their third round monitoring in January 2001, affecting approximately 22,000 systems.
Any additional monitoring for these systems will be a part of the EPA’s revision of the UCM regulations, due by August 1999. This suspension does not eliminate the requirement to monitor during monitoring rounds one and two, which were required to begin in 1989 and 1994 respectively.
The reasons for this suspension of existing monitoring for systems serving 10,000 or fewer persons are:
The 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act require the EPA to overhaul the UCM program, with changes to the list of contaminants as well as the number of systems that will need to monitor. The statutory deadline for the revised UCM program is August 6, 1999.
Beginning January 1, 1999, most systems serving 3,300 to 10,000 persons will need to initiate another round of monitoring for the contaminants on the existing monitoring. Under the revised program, this list of contaminants will change and many of these systems will not need to monitor for the new list of contaminants.
The EPA has already received results from 28,000 systems from two previous rounds of monitoring.
The EPA will have monitoring results from large systems (serving more than 10,000 persons) for a third monitoring round which was to begin no later than January 1, 1998. This will provide sufficient confirming information on the occurrence of contaminants and any additional action that the EPA might need to take with regard to these contaminants. Therefore, because additional monitoring under the soon-to-be-superseded program is unnecessary and burdensome for small systems, the EPA believes that the monitoring requirements for these systems should be suspended.
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