Processing Magazine

EPA to work with drinking water systems to monitor unregulated contaminants

May 8, 2012

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a list of 28 chemicals and two viruses that approximately 6,000 public water systems will monitor from 2013 to 2015 as part of the agency’s unregulated contaminant monitoring program, which collects data for contaminants suspected to be present in drinking water, but that do not have health-based standards set under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

EPA will spend more than $20 million to support the monitoring, the majority of which will be devoted to assist small drinking water systems with conducting the monitoring. The data collected under the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule 3 (UCMR 3) will inform EPA about the frequency and levels at which these contaminants are found in drinking water systems across the United States and help determine whether additional protections are needed to ensure safe drinking water for Americans. State participation in the monitoring is voluntary. EPA will fund small drinking water system costs for laboratory analyses, shipping and quality control.

The list of contaminants to be studied includes total chromium and hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium-6. Addressing hexavalent chromium in drinking water is a priority for EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. EPA has standards for 91 contaminants in drinking water, and the Safe Drinking Water Act requires that EPA identify up to 30 additional unregulated contaminants for monitoring every five years.