EPA announces nationwide PFAS monitoring in drinking water

UCMR 5 adds 29 PFAS & lithium to monitoring requirements

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized the Fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 5), establishing nationwide monitoring for 29 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and lithium in drinking water.

The Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule to monitor priority unregulated contaminants in drinking water is updated every five years, in order to improve EPA’s understanding of the frequency and magnitude of these chemicals in drinking water systems.

UCMR 5 will also expand water quality monitoring to support state and regional assessments of contamination, in order to analyze potential impacts on disadvantaged communities where monitoring is often less robust. Data will help identify systems in need additional funding to address emerging contaminants.

“At EPA, we are advancing the science and the monitoring that are necessary to protect all communities from PFAS,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan in a statement. “With the data provided by this rule, EPA will be able to develop better regulations while the agency, states, and our local partners will be able to make protective public health decisions that are grounded in science.”

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) of 1974, 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 the UCMR. A representative sample of systems serving fewer than 3,300 people may also need to participate, depending on appropriations and laboratory capacities.

UCMR 5 requires participating drinking water systems to collect samples from the years 2023-2025. Final results will be reported through 2026.

EPA will hold webinar meetings for stakeholders on 16 and 17 March 2022. Visit the EPA’s UCMR webpages for details.