EPA Releases Final Rule for UCMR 5

On December 20th, EPA released the pre-publication of the final Fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 5). As was originally proposed, EPA is requiring public water systems (PWSs) to test for 29 different PFAS and lithium. EPA notes within the pre-publication that UCMR 5 will include all PWSs serving 3,300 or more people and a representative sample of 800 systems serving 25 to 3,299 people, subject to appropriations. The pre-publication stresses that if EPA does not receive the appropriations needed for monitoring all of these PWSs in a given year, the Agency will reduce the number of systems serving 25 to 10,000 people that will be asked to perform monitoring.
The final UCMR 5 has maintained the reduced reporting timelines for laboratories and PWSs. Laboratories will now have 90 days, versus 120 days in previous UCMRs, from the time of sample collection to post and approve analytical results in the Safe Drinking Water Accession and Review System (SDWARS) for review. Large PWSs now have only 30 days, versus 60 days in previous UCMRs, to review and approve the results posted to SDWARS. The UCMR 5 sampling period will run from 2023-2025 and includes three separate EPA methods:
  • EPA Method 200.7 to measure lithium;
  • EPA Method 533 to measure 25 individual PFAS; and
  • EPA Method 537.1 which measures four individual PFAS not covered by Method 533.
In the same notice, EPA announced a series of public webinars to discuss the implementation of UCMR 5. EPA plans to hold the first set up public webinars, focused on implementation planning, in spring 2022. The second set of webinars will be held in fall 2022 and will focus on SDWARS and sample collection. Once available, registration information and webinar materials will be found on EPA’s UCMR 5 webpage. The final rule is effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.