Nationwide Monitoring to Gauge Extent of PFAS in Drinking Water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) recently finalized the Fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR5) to establish nationwide monitoring for 29 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and lithium in drinking water. This action marks a significant milestone in the PFAS Strategic Roadmap developed by the USEPA.

The USEPA uses the UCMR to monitor for priority unregulated contaminants in drinking water every five years. As directed by UCMR5, systems will collect new data on 29 PFAS that is needed to improve USEPA’s understanding of the frequency and magnitude at which these chemicals are found in the nation’s drinking water systems. Additionally, expanded monitoring in UCMR5 will improve USEPA’s ability to conduct State and regional assessments of contamination.

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), as amended by America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, now requires all drinking water systems serving between 3,300 and 10,000 people to participate in UCMR and specifies that a representative sample of systems serving fewer than 3,300 people participate, subject to the availability of appropriations and sufficient laboratory capacity. If the necessary funds are appropriated, the UCMR5 will significantly expand the number of small drinking water systems participating in the program, which should provide more Americans with a better understanding of potential contaminants present in their drinking water. The UCMR5 requires participating drinking water systems to collect samples from 2023-2025 and report their final results through 2026.

The USEPA will hold multiple webinar meetings for stakeholders in 2022. Dates and times of the upcoming meetings can be found here.