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UCMR3 Monitoring Period Begins in 2013

test tubeThe timeline for the third round of Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring (UCMR3) by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has officially begun. The endeavor will involve hundreds of public water systems throughout the country and is part of the USEPA's unregulated contaminant monitoring program, which collects data for contaminants suspected to be present in drinking water. The data collected under the UCMR3 will track 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.

A new UCMR list is developed every five years. The 30 contaminants that will be monitored for the period of 2013 through 2015 is comprised of 28 chemicals and two microbiological contaminants that do not currently have health-based standards set under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The UCMR3 list of 28 chemicals includes seven volatile organic compounds, one synthetic organic compound, six metals, one oxyhalide anion, six perfluorinated compounds, and seven hormones.  The two microbiological contaminants are viruses. The contaminants are divided into three groups – Lists 1, 2, and 3 shown at the end of this article.

Here is how the monitoring is planned:

  • Systems that serve 10,000 or more, as well as a selection of 800 systems that serve less than 10,000 people will monitor for the 21 chemicals in List 1. They will not monitor hormones and viruses (Lists 2 and 3, respectively).
  • All systems that serve more than 100,000 people, 320 selected systems that serve 10,000 to 100,000 people, and 480 selected systems that serve less than 10,000 people will monitor for the 21 chemicals in List 1 and the seven hormones in List 2.
  • Only the 800 systems that do not practice disinfection and serve less than 1,000 people will be sampling for the two microbiological contaminants in List 3.

All systems were required to verify contact information and sampling plans through the USEPA’s Central Data Exchange (CDX) by October 1, 2012. For groundwater systems, the monitoring frequency is twice in a consecutive 12-month period, spaced five to seven months apart. For systems utilizing surface water or groundwater under the direct influence of surface water, sampling is to be completed quarterly for four consecutive quarters, with three months between samples. Depending upon the contaminant, samples are collected from the entry point to the distribution system, the point of maximum residence time in the distribution system, or both locations.

The USEPA will spend more than $20 million to support the monitoring, the majority of which will be devoted to assisting small drinking water systems with the process. The USEPA covers the cost of testing for systems that serve less than 10,000 customers. The systems serving less than 10,000 people are responsible for collecting the samples, and USEPA arranges for analysis and reporting. For those small systems subject to sampling for the viruses, USEPA will perform the sample collections as well as arrange for analyses and reporting. 

All UCMR3 analyses must be completed by a laboratory certified by the USEPA specifically for this monitoring. If your system is subject to the UCMR3, be sure your sampling plan and laboratory contract is in place. For a complete list of certified laboratories, click here.

The UCMR3 list is provided below.


Volatile Organic Compounds (7)

  • 1,2,3-trichloropropane
  • 1,3-butadiene
  • chloromethane
  • 1,1-dichloroethane
  • bromomethane (methyl bromide)
  • chlorodifluoromethane (HCFC-22)
  • bromochloromethane (halon 1011)

Synthetic Organic Compound (1)

  • 1,4-dioxane

Metals (6)

  • vanadium
  • molybdenum
  • cobalt
  • strontium
  • chromium
  • chromium-6

Oxyhalide Anion (1)

  • chlorate

Perfluorinated Compounds (6)

  • perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS)
  • perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
  • perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA)
  • perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS)
  • perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA)
  • perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS)


Hormones (7)

  • 17-β-estradiol
  • 17-α-ethynylestradiol
  • estriol
  • equilin
  • estrone
  • testosterone
  • 4-androstene-3,17-dione


Microbiological Contaminants (2)

  • enteroviruses
  • noroviruses

For more information about UCMR3 monitoring, visit the USEPA website by clicking here or contact AE2S.






If you have any questions concerning the content of this newsletter,
please contact Heather Syverson at 701-364-9111 or Heather.Syverson@ae2s.com.
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