The US EPA Proposes Monitoring Requirements for PFAS and Lithium in Public Water Systems

On March 11, 2021 in the Federal Register, EPA proposed a Safe Water Drinking Act (SWDA) rule that would require Public Water Systems (PWS) to collect occurrence data on PFAS and lithium in the water system. EPA is proposing the monitoring of these substances in large and small community water systems (CWS), and a sample of representative smaller water systems. The proposed action gives the EPA, states, and communities scientifically valid data on the contaminants in drinking water. Two public meetings will be held, and comments must be received before May 10, 2021.

Under the proposal, large and small community water systems (CWS) and non-transient non-community water systems(NTNCWS) with at least 15 connections, as well as a representative sample of smaller water systems, would be required to collect occurrence data of PFAS and lithium in water services. EPA defines small PWS serving between 3,300 and 10,000 people, subject to the availability of appropriations and laboratory capacity.

EPA defines large PWS serving more than 10,000 people as:

  • CWS: has at least 15 service connections used by year-round residents or regularly serves at least 25 year-round residents.
  • NTNCWS: is not a CWS and that regularly serves at least 25 of the same people over 6 months per year.

The table is a general guide of potentially regulated entities with the North American Industry Classification System number.

     CATEGORY                   POTENTIALLY REGULATED ENTITIES       NAICS
State, local, and tribal governmentsState, local, and tribal governments that analyze water samples on behalf of PWSs required to conduct such analysis; state, local, and tribal governments that directly operate CWSs and NTNCWSs required to monitor      924110
IndustryPrivate operators of CWSs and NTNCWSs required to monitor      221310
MunicipalitiesMunicipal operators of CWSs and NTNCWSs required to monitor      924110

Comments must be identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2020-0530, and submitted by any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: https://www.regulations.gov/​ (our preferred method). Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
  • Mail: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA Docket Center, Water Docket, Mail Code 28221T, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20460.
  • Hand Delivery or Courier (by scheduled appointment only): EPA Docket Center, WJC West Building, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004. The Docket Center’s hours of operations are 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday (except Federal Holidays).

The EPA website offers information on registration and webinar offerings, dates and times for the initial public meeting at https://www.epa.gov/​dwucmr/​unregulated-contaminant-monitoring-rule-ucmr-meetings-and-materials.

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Sources:US EPA Proposes the Public Water System Collect Occurrence Data for PFAS and Lithium and Announces a Public Meeting, Federal Register, March 11, 2021 https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/03/11/2021-03920/revisions-to-the-unregulated-contaminant-monitoring-rule-ucmr-5-for-public-water-systems-and

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