Locus EIM is ready for EPA’s latest UCMR 4 guidelines— are you?

Posted by Locus Product Team

Attention all water providers: the EPA’s latest UCMR 4 list includes 30 new chemical contaminants that water systems have to test for and report. Can your environmental software handle it?

Locus EIM environmental software can handle new chemicals and analyses seamlessly. Both the standard Locus EIM configuration and the Locus EIM Water configuration (specially tailored to water utilities) are built with ever-changing regulations in mind.

We’ve put together some helpful background and tips for water providers getting ready for UCMR 4 monitoring.

What water providers need to know

  • The fourth and latest list (UCMR 4) was published on December 20, 2016, and includes 30 new chemical contaminants that must be monitored between 2018 and 2020 using specified analytical methods.
  • All water systems serving more than 10,000 people, as well as a nationally representative set of 800 randomly selected smaller systems— are required to monitor for some or all of the new contaminants.
  • Large systems must pay for their own testing, and US EPA will pay for analytical costs for small systems.
  • Labs must receive EPA UCMR approval to conduct analyses on UCMR 4 contaminants.

What’s the UCMR and why are some contaminants unregulated?

In 1996, Congress amended the Safe Drinking Water Act with the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR). Under this new rule, US EPA can require water providers to monitor and collect data for contaminants that may be in drinking water but don’t have any health-based standards set (yet) under the SDWA.

More than 150,000 public water systems are subject to the SDWA regulations. US EPA, states, tribes, water systems, and the public all work together to protect the water supply from an ever-growing list of contaminants.

However, under the UCMR, US EPA is restricted to issuing a new list every five years of no more than 30 unregulated contaminants to be monitored by water providers.

This helps reduce the burden on water providers, since monitoring and testing for the existing list of over 90 regulated contaminants already requires a significant investment of time and resources.

Throughout the course of this monitoring, US EPA can determine whether the contaminants need to be officially enforced— but this would require regulatory action, routed through the normal legislative process.

Tips for preparing for UCMR 4 in Locus EIM logo

  • DO use EIM’s Sample Planning module to set your sample collection schedule ahead of time, as requirements vary and are on specific schedules:
    • Cyanotoxins— Mar through November, systems must monitor 2x/month for 4 consecutive months (total of 8 sampling events) and sample events must occur two weeks apart.
      • The 1st and 2nd samples are collected in July (weeks 1 and 3)
      • 3rd and 4th samples are collected in August (weeks 1 and 3)
      • 5th and 6th samples are collected in September (weeks 1 and 3)
      • 7th and 8th samples are collected in October (weeks 1 and 3)
    • Additional chemicals— Systems must monitor 2x during a consecutive 12-month monitoring period, and sample events must occur 5 to 7 months apart
  • DO take advantage of EIM’s sample program features to track and manage UCMR data, or consider using a dedicated location group to track results, keeping them separate and easy to find for CCR reporting.
  • DON’T worry about adding in new analytical parameters in advance. With EIM’s EDD loader, you can automatically add them when the data arrive from the laboratory.

Contact your Locus Account Manager for help setting up your EIM database in advance of your sampling schedule, and we’ll make sure you’re ready for UCMR 4 data when it arrives!

Not yet a customer? Send us a quick note to schedule a call or a demo to find out how Locus software can completely streamline your water sampling and reporting.

Infographic: UCMR 4 EPA guidelines for water quality management for drinking water utilities

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