[Federal Register Volume 62, Number 128 (Thursday, July 3, 1997)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 36100-36136]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 97-17210]



[[Page 36099]]

_______________________________________________________________________

Part II





Environmental Protection Agency





_______________________________________________________________________



40 CFR Parts 141 and 142



Drinking Water Monitoring Requirements for Certain Chemical 
Contaminants--Chemical Monitoring Reform (CMR) and Permanent Monitoring 
Relief (PMR); Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 62, No. 128 / Thursday, July 3, 1997 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 36100]]



ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

40 CFR Parts 141 and 142

[FRL-5851-6]
RIN 2040-AC73


Drinking Water Monitoring Requirements for Certain Chemical 
Contaminants--Chemical Monitoring Reform (CMR) and Permanent Monitoring 
Relief (PMR)

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Advance notice of proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: EPA is providing advance notice that it is planning to propose 
revising the drinking water monitoring requirements for sixty four 
chemical contaminants. These chemicals may occur in the source water of 
public drinking water systems, and are regulated on the basis of 
chronic health effects over a seventy year period. The purpose of the 
proposal would be to base the monitoring requirements for each water 
system on its risk of contamination, and to establish a uniform and 
simple sampling schedule for those systems without an apparent or 
significant risk of contamination.
    EPA is also soliciting comments on draft Permanent Monitoring 
Relief (PMR) Guidelines under section 1418(b) of the Safe Drinking 
Water Act (the Act), as amended August 6, 1996. The Act requires EPA to 
issue guidelines, by August 6, 1997, for States to use in adopting 
monitoring relief under Sections 1418 and 1453.
    EPA is also soliciting comments on certain other changes under 
consideration: the deadlines for decisions regarding ground water under 
the direct influence of surface water and associated filtration 
determinations; and reporting requirements for both public water 
systems and State regulatory agencies. These potential changes were 
raised by ``stakeholders'' in the drinking water community, through a 
number of public meetings convened to explore ways of reducing the 
burden created by the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations. 
Today's action requests comments on the ``stakeholder'' suggestions, 
which are described below under Suggestions for Regulatory Burden 
Reduction Other Than Chemical.

DATES: Written comments must be postmarked or delivered by hand by 
August 4, 1997. The public hearing dates are:

1. July 8, 1997, 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m., Denver, Colorado
2. July 9, 1997, 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m., Chicago, Illinois
3. July 22-23, 1997, 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m., Washington, DC.

ADDRESSES: Send all written comments on this notice to the ``Chemical 
Monitoring Reform Comment Clerk; Water Docket MC-4101 (Docket # W-97-
03); Environmental Protection Agency; 401 M Street, SW., Washington, DC 
20460.'' Supporting documents for this proposed rulemaking are 
available for review at EPA's Water Docket; 401 M Street, SW., 
Washington, DC 20460. For access to the Docket materials, call (202) 
260-3027 between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. for an appointment, and reference 
``Docket #W-97-03''.
    The public hearings will be held in the following locations:

1. EPA, Region VIII, Rocky Mountain Room in the 2nd floor Conference 
Center, 999 18th Street, Denver, Colorado 80202
2. EPA, Region V, Lake Michigan Room (12th Floor), 77 West Jackson 
Blvd., Chicago, Illinois 60604
3. Wyndham Bristol Hotel, Room Potomac 3, 2430 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., 
Washington, DC 20037.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The Safe Drinking Water Hotline, toll 
free (800) 426-4791 for general information about, and copies of, this 
document. To speak to the rule manager about today's proposal, contact 
Mike Muse; Implementation & Assistance Division; Office of Ground Water 
and Drinking Water; EPA (4604), 401 M Street SW., Washington, DC 20460; 
telephone (202) 260-3874.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Chemical Monitoring Reform portion of 
this document presents many possible changes to the current 
requirements in a detailed format, so that commenters can better assess 
how the concepts in this document might work in the real world. In 
addition, this document contains preliminary rule language so that 
commenters may begin to address the details of regulatory 
implementation. EPA is very open to suggestions for different and/or 
additional changes to the current requirements, and to suggestions for 
new or revised rule language for Chemical Monitoring Reform. After 
considering and incorporating the public comments, the proposed changes 
to the current regulations may be quite different from this document.
    Concerning the Permanent Monitoring Relief Guidelines, EPA will 
consider the comments received in response to this notice, and will 
issue final guidelines by the August 6, 1997 statutory deadline. As 
discussed in Section I.B below, EPA anticipates that regulations may be 
needed in order to implement fully the Permanent Monitoring Relief 
guidelines. Accordingly, EPA may propose such regulations at the same 
time that the CMR regulations are proposed.
    These changes would affect community water systems (CWSs) and non-
transient, non-community water systems (NTNCWSs). Community water 
systems are those which serve at least 15 service connections used by 
year round residents, or regularly serve at least 25 year round 
residents e.g., cities, townships, district water authorities, private 
water companies serving such communities. Non-transient, non-community 
water systems are those which are not community water systems and which 
serve at least 25 of the same persons over six months of the year e.g., 
schools, factories or other facilities with their own separate water 
supply. The following table identifies the SIC code affected by this 
action.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                   SIC  
         Standard industrial classification description            code 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Water Supply...................................................     4941
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    If your comments pertain only to Chemical Monitoring Reform, only 
to the Permanent Monitoring Relief Guidelines, or only to the other 
ideas for burden reduction (e.g., deadlines for decisions regarding 
ground water under the direct influence of surface water), please 
indicate that in the first paragraph of your comments. Commenters are 
requested to submit any references cited in their comments. Commenters 
also are requested to submit an original and 3 copies of their written 
comments and enclosures.
    Commenters who want receipt of their comments acknowledged should 
include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. No facsimiles (faxes) will 
be accepted. The Agency would prefer for commenters to type or print 
comments in ink. Commenters should subtitle each issue, including the 
citation of the rule paragraph to which it pertains e.g., 
``Detection>MCL--Sec. 141.23(f):''.

Table of Contents

I. Summary of Today's Document
    A. Chemical Monitoring Reform
    B. Permanent Monitoring Relief (PMR) Guidelines
    C. Suggestions for Regulatory Burden Reduction Other Than 
Chemical Monitoring Reform
II. Background
    A. Statutory Authority
    B. Regulatory Background

[[Page 36101]]

    C. Overview of Approach for Chemical Monitoring Reform & 
Permanent Monitoring Relief
    D. Anticipated Impact on Systems and States
III. Detailed Explanation of Draft Changes to Chemical Monitoring 
Requirements
    A. Affected Water Systems
    B. Sampling Points
    C. Time of Monitoring
    D. Responsibility to Provide Information
    E. Mandatory Monitoring
    F. Detection\1/2\MCL
    G. MCL Violation Determinations
    H. Laboratory Certification Criteria
    I. New Systems & New Sources
    J. Sample Compositing
    K. Records Kept by States
    L. Special State Primacy Requirements
    M. Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments
    N. Permanent Monitoring Relief Guidelines
    O. Suggestions for Regulatory Burden Reduction Other Than 
Chemical Monitoring Reform
Appendix A to Preamble: EPA Technical Criteria Document for The 
Analysis of Selected Chemicals in Drinking Water

Abbreviations Used in This Document

BAT: Best Available Technology
CWS: Community Water System
EPA: Environmental Protection Agency
FR: Federal Register
IMR: Interim Monitoring Relief
IOC: Inorganic Chemical
LFB: Laboratory Fortified Blank
MCL: Maximum Contaminant Level
MDL: Method Detection Level
NPDWR: National Primary Drinking Water Regulation
NTNCWS: Non-transient, Non-community Water System
PE: Performance Evaluation
PMR: Permanent Monitoring Relief
PQL: Practical Quantitation Level
PWS: Public Water System
RDL: Reliable Detection Level
RIA: Regulatory Impact Analysis
SDWA: Safe Drinking Water Act
SMF: Standard Monitoring Framework
SWAP: Source Water Assessment Program
SWRA: Source Water Review Area
SOC: Synthetic Organic Chemical
VOC: Volatile Organic Chemical
WHP: Wellhead Protection

List of Tables

Table A: Contaminants Affected by Chemical Monitoring Reform
Table B: Phase I Sampling Results of Organic Chemicals in Surface 
Water
Table C: Phase I Sampling Results of Organic Chemicals in Ground 
Water
Table D: Phase I Sampling Results for Ethylene Dibromide in Ground 
Water
Table E: Phase I Sampling Results for Ethylbenzene in Ground Water
Table F: Aggregated VOC Compliance Sampling Data from Selected 
States
Table G: Aggregated SOC Compliance Sampling Data from Selected 
States
Table H: Chemical Monitoring Reform, Sampling Frequency Decision 
Diagram
Table I: Standard Monitoring Framework, Repeat Sampling Frequency 
Decision Diagram
Table J: Sampling Frequency Decision Diagram

I. Summary of Today's Document

A. Chemical Monitoring Reform

    The purpose of this document is to suggest regulatory changes to 
strengthen public health protection by reducing the chance of drinking 
water contamination going undetected and unaddressed, and to reduce 
unnecessary monitoring and reporting requirements. The reduction of 
unnecessary monitoring will release public resources to focus on those 
systems at risk of contamination, and on the contaminants posing such 
risk.
    The current monitoring requirements, specifically those under 
Secs. 141.23 (a) through (c) and 141.24 (f) through (k), would be 
replaced with a new approach that would (1) Consolidate the monitoring 
requirements into a sampling frequency of once every five years for 
those systems that States determine have very low risk of 
contamination, (2) require States to target the `at risk' systems to 
sample at a greater frequency based on the degree of each system's 
vulnerability, and (3) provide for sampling during the periods of 
greatest vulnerability. Further, this approach would promote the 
implementation of source water protection to reduce systems' 
vulnerability.
    In addition, the quality control criteria for chemical analyses 
would be consolidated into a separate technical criteria document that 
would be incorporated by reference into a final Chemical Monitoring 
Reform rule, as would the analytical methods and acceptance criteria 
for these chemicals.

B. Permanent Monitoring Relief (PMR) Guidelines

    Section 1418(b) of the Safe Drinking Water Act, as amended, 
requires EPA to issue guidelines by August 6, 1997 for States to use in 
adopting Permanent Monitoring Relief. Section 1418(b) authorizes a 
State to offer a water system relief from the Federal monitoring 
requirements, in accordance with the EPA guidelines, after the State's 
Source Water Assessment Program has been approved by EPA and the local 
source water assessment has been completed.
    A draft of the Permanent Monitoring Relief Guidelines is presented 
in this document under Section III.N. The key features are (1) Sampling 
waivers under which systems could receive a waiver from sampling for a 
five year period, if there is no risk to public health, (2) the 
designation of surrogate sampling points under which systems could use 
the results from some of their sampling points for other sampling 
points, and (3) relaxed monitoring for nitrate under limited 
conditions.
    The final PMR guidelines will provide sufficient information about 
monitoring provisions of the PMR for a State to ensure that its Source 
Water Assessment Program will provide the data needed for PMR if the 
State intends to avail itself of the alternative monitoring program 
available under the PMR. However, EPA believes that to allow States to 
implement the final guidelines, it may be necessary to revise the 
monitoring requirements in 40 CFR Parts 141 and 142. EPA may need to 
provide in the regulations that monitoring under PMR assures compliance 
with applicable national primary drinking water regulations, thereby 
allowing States to implement a monitoring plan that differs from the 
current requirements. Second, certain provisions of the proposed 
guidelines (Section III.N of this notice) would include specific forms 
of monitoring flexibility and minimum elements for approvable State PMR 
requirements that, if such provisions are to be included in the final 
guidelines and be binding on States, may need conforming regulations. 
The Agency solicits comments on what conforming changes, if any, might 
be needed.
    EPA may propose regulatory language to support the PMR in the 
Federal Register notice proposing the CMR regulations. The Agency 
expects to issue final regulations for the CMR, and if necessary the 
PMR, by August 1998. This time-frame for regulatory support for PMR 
should not pose a hardship for the States or PWSs. It will take some 
time for many States to comply with the statutory pre-requisites for 
granting PMR to its public water systems (i.e., approval of a Source 
Water Assessment Program, completion of the relevant source water 
assessments, and approval of a PMR program). The Agency would expect 
necessary federal and State regulations to be in place well in advance 
of PMR implementation.

C. Suggestions for Regulatory Burden Reduction Other Than Chemical 
Monitoring Reform

    As part of the President's initiative to ``Reinvent Environmental 
Regulation'', EPA has been reviewing the National Primary Drinking 
Water Regulations (NPDWRs) to find opportunities for reducing the 
paperwork burden on public water systems and State drinking water 
agencies. Through public meetings, EPA has solicited input from States, 
water utilities, and environmental groups regarding ways to reduce this 
paperwork burden. That

[[Page 36102]]

process looked at all of EPA's NPDWRs and yielded a number of 
suggestions. Many of the suggestions made by these ``stakeholders'' are 
incorporated in the Chemical Monitoring Reform approach in this 
document. Some of the suggestions, however, were to make changes to 
other parts of the NPDWRs.
    EPA believes certain other suggestions deserve further 
consideration, and is presenting these suggestions for comment, so the 
Agency can more fully evaluate their merits for possible inclusion in 
subsequent proposed rulemaking. The suggestions contained in this 
document involve deadlines for decisions regarding ground water under 
the direct influence of surface water and associated filtration 
determinations, and requirements for water system and State reporting. 
They can be found in Section III.Q. of this document. Stakeholder 
suggestions pertaining to lead and copper requirements were presented 
in the preamble for the proposal entitled, Maximum Contaminant Level 
Goals and National Primary Drinking Water Regulations for Lead and 
Copper, 60FR16348, April 12, 1996.

II. Background

A. Statutory Authority

    The approach outlined in this document would amend the monitoring 
requirements associated with certain National Primary Drinking Water 
Regulations (NPDWRs) established pursuant to Section 1445 of the Safe 
Drinking Water Act, as amended August 6, 1996 (the ``Act''). Section 
1445 of the Act provides EPA with general information collection 
authority. Namely, ``every person who is subject to any requirement of 
this title ..., shall establish and maintain such records, make such 
reports, conduct such monitoring, and provide such information as the 
Administrator may reasonably require by regulation to assist the 
Administrator in ... determining whether such person has acted or is 
acting in compliance with this title.''

B. Regulatory Background

    EPA first regulated chemicals in drinking water by establishing 
maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) and sampling requirements for nine 
inorganic chemicals (IOCs), and six synthetic organic chemicals (SOCs) 
in the Interim Primary Drinking Water Regulations of 1975. In 
accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1986, EPA 
began adding to its list of regulated chemicals. In 1987, EPA adopted 
standards for eight volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) in the Phase I 
Rule. From that point on, regulations for contaminants in drinking 
water have been referred to as National Primary Drinking Water 
Regulations (NPDWRs).
    EPA has since revised the standards for some chemicals, and 
established new standards for other chemicals, in three separate 
actions: Phase II Rule--January, 1991; Phase IIB Rule--July, 1991; and 
Phase V Rule--July, 1992. These changes would affect sixty four (64) of 
the chemicals for which NPDWRs have been established (13 IOCs, 30 SOCs 
and 21 VOCs) as listed below in Table A.

      Table A.--Contaminants Affected by Chemical Monitoring Reform     
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Inorganic Chemicals (IOCs):                                             
    [1] Antimony, [2] Arsenic, [3] Asbestos, [4] Barium, [5] Beryllium, 
     [6] Cadmium, [7] Chromium, [8] Cyanide, [9] Fluoride, [10] Mercury,
     [11] Nickel, 1 [12] Selenium, [13] Thallium.                       
Synthetic Organic Chemicals (SOCs):                                     
    [1] 2,4-D (Formula 40 Weeder 64); [2] 2,3,7,8-TCDD (Dioxin); [3]    
     2,4,5-TP (Silvex); [4] Alachlor (Lasso); [5] Atrazine; [6]         
     Benzo[a]pyrene; [7] Carbofuran; [8] Chlordane; [9] Dalapon; [10]   
     Di(2-ethylhexyl)adipate; [11] Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate; [12]      
     Dibromochloropropane (DBCP); [13] Dinoseb; [14] Diquat; [15]       
     Endothall; [16] Endrin; [17] Ethylene dibromide (EDB); [18]        
     Glyphosate; [19] Heptachlor epoxide; [20] Heptachlor; [21]         
     Hexachloro-cyclopentadiene; [22] Hexachlorobenzene; [23] Lindane;  
     [24] Methoxychlor; [25] Oxamyl (Vydate); [26] Pentachlorophenol;   
     [27] Picloram; [28] Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs); [29]         
     Simazine; [30] Toxaphene.                                          
Volatile Organic Chemicals ( VOCs ):                                    
    [1] 1,1-Dichloroethylene; [2] 1,1,2-Trichloroethane; [3] 1,1,1-     
     Trichloroethane; [4] 1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene; [5] 1,2-              
     Dichloropropane; [6] 1,2-Dichloroethane; [7] Benzene; [8] Carbon   
     tetrachloride; [9] cis-1,2-Dichloroethylene; [10] Dichloromethane; 
     [11] Ethylbenzene; [12] Monochlorobenzene; [13] o-Dichlorobenzene; 
     [14] p-Dichlorobenzene; [15] Styrene; [16] Tetrachloroethylene;    
     [17] Toluene; [18] trans-1,2-Dichloroethylene; [19]                
     Trichloroethylene; [20] Vinyl Chloride; [21] Xylenes.              
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    When EPA published the Phase II rule in January, 1991, it 
established the Standard Monitoring Framework. This framework is in 
effect today, and applies to all chemicals regulated under the Phase I, 
II, IIB and V rules, including those regulated under previous IPDWRs--
except arsenic. 2 The Standard Monitoring Framework was 
intended to provide a uniform monitoring structure for all current and 
subsequent NPDWRs involving chemical contaminants. However, it soon 
became apparent that the Standard Monitoring Framework (a) could be 
redesigned to identify contaminated drinking water more quickly and 
effectively, (b) is too prescriptive in several areas, and (c) is 
complex and difficult to implement efficiently.
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    \1\ Although the MCL for Nickel has been stayed by a Federal 
Court, the monitoring requirements remain in force.
    \2\ Arsenic was excluded from the Standard Monitoring Framework 
at the time Phase II was promulgated, because revision of the 
arsenic MCL was thought to be imminent at that time. As indicated by 
Table A, these changes include arsenic.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    It also appears that the high rates of water supply contamination 
anticipated in the late 1980s and early 1990's, upon which the Standard 
Monitoring Framework is largely based (e.g., EPA cited VOC 
contamination of about 20% of the water systems), have not been borne 
out by the sampling results since then. According to the data in EPA's 
national data base for tracking violations (the Safe Drinking Water 
Information System--SDWIS), an average of about \1/2\% or less of the 
systems that sample for the sixty four chemicals, had MCL violations 
for any one of those chemicals during 1993-1995.3 Although 
the data available to EPA are not definitive, they are significant 
because they represent thousands of systems. EPA invites the submittal 
of sampling data to support or refute the preliminary findings upon 
which these changes are based.
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    \3\ Based on 28 States reporting.
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(1) Monitoring Results from Phase I Unregulated Contaminants in 1988-
1991
    The following discussion presents chemical occurrence data that EPA 
States gathered from public drinking water systems. The sampling 
results from thirty three States \4\ were compiled

[[Page 36103]]

for fourteen organic chemicals. These chemicals were sampled as 
unregulated contaminants under the Phase I rule in 1988 through 1991 (A 
Statistical Survey of the Unregulated Contaminant Data, prepared by 
Computer Sciences Corporation). Twelve VOCs have since been regulated, 
and EDB and DBCP have since been regulated as SOCs, under the Phase II, 
IIB or V rules.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ The following States, Territories and home rule 
jurisdictions contributed data: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, 
Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, 
Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, 
Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, 
Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, 
Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Virgin Islands, Washington, West Virginia 
and Wyoming. The underlined States reported only results showing 
detection. They are included here because the data were taken from a 
table in which the sampling results were consolidated for all the 
States and it was impossible to separate these States out.
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    For systems served by surface water, these data show that thirteen 
of the fourteen contaminants were detected at less than 3% of the 
facilities tested, and that the fourteenth contaminant 
(dichloromethane) was detected at slightly more than 5% of the 
facilities (see Table B). In ground water, the data show that only one 
contaminant (tetrachloroethylene) was detected at more than 3% of the 
facilities sampled (see Table C). In summary, only a small percentage 
of the facilities sampled has detected any of these contaminants.

Table B.--Phase I Sampling Results of Organic Compounds in Surface Water
                               (1988-1991)                              
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               Percent  
    Chemical name and (phase)       No. sites   No. sites w/   sites w/ 
                                   sampled \5\    detects      detects  
------------------------------------------------------------------------
cis/trans-1,2-Dichloroethylene                                          
 (2).............................        1,670           15        0.90%
Dichloromethane (5)..............        1,588           81         5.10
1,2-Dichloropropane (2)..........        1,581            5         0.32
Ethylbenzene (2).................        1,526           15         0.98
Ethylene Dibromide [EDB] (2).....        1,180           34         2.88
Dibromochloropropane [DBCP] (2)..        1,204           28         2.33
Monochlorobenzene (2)............        1,531            5         0.33
o-Dichlorobenzene (2)............        1,504            3         0.20
Styrene (2)......................        1,496            4         0.27
Tetrachloroethylene (2)..........        1,579           32         2.03
Toluene (2)......................        1,529           37         2.42
1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene (5).......        1,119            0         0.00
1,1,2-Trichloroethane (5)........        1,523           20         1.31
Xylenes (2)......................        1,606           23         1.43
------------------------------------------------------------------------


 Table C.--Phase I Sampling Results of Organic Compounds in Ground Water
                               (1988-1991)                              
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               Percent  
    Chemical name and (phase)       No. sites   No. sites w/   sites w/ 
                                     sampled      detects      detects  
------------------------------------------------------------------------
cis/trans-1,2-Dichloroethylene                                          
 (2).............................       12,798          205         1.60
Dichloromethane (5)..............       12,263          294         2.40
1,2-Dichloropropane (2)..........       12,213           42         0.34
Ethylbenzene (2).................       12,219          107         0.88
Ethylene Dibromide [EDB] (2).....        9,339           61         0.65
Dibromochloropropane [DBCP] (2)..        9,293           40         0.43
Monochlorobenzene (2)............       12,215           14         0.11
o-Dichlorobenzene (2)............       12,162            8         0.07
Styrene (2)......................       12,092           29         0.24
Tetrachloroethylene (2)..........       12,349          447         3.62
Toluene (2)......................       12,218          222         1.82
1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene (5).......       11,535           16         0.14
1,1,2-Trichloroethane (5)........       12,211           11         0.09
Xylenes (2)......................       12,743          150         1.18
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As shown in Tables D and E, the rates of detection also vary from 
State to State.\6\ In Table D, the detection of ethylene dibromide 
(EDB) in ground water ranges from < 1% of the facilities sampled in 13 
of 17 States to 3.4% of the facilities in North Carolina and 12.5% of 
the facilities in Alabama. In Table E, the variation of ethylbenzene 
detections in ground water ranges from less than 1% of the facilities 
sampled in 12 of 20 States to 5%--5.5% in Alabama, Missouri and North 
Carolina.

    \5\ The report from which this data is taken describes a point 
as the ``number of unique sample sites and collection points'' for 
each water system.
    \6\ States reporting only results showing detections have been 
excluded from Tables D and E, because the data presented to EPA 
allowed us to identify and delete these States. Otherwise, these 
tables include data from the States in which laboratories reported 
the results of analyzing one or more samples for these specific 
analytes.

[[Page 36104]]



   Table D.--Phase I Sampling Results for Ethylene Dibromide [EDB] in   
                        Ground Water (1988-1991)                        
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    Number of    Number of    Percent of
            State name                sites       sites w/     sites w/ 
                                     Sampled      detects      detects  
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alabama..........................          160           20        12.50
Colorado.........................           18            0         0.00
Delaware.........................          132            0         0.00
Minnesota........................          119            0         0.00
Missouri.........................          130            0         0.00
North Carolina...................          383           13         3.39
North Dakota.....................          374            0         0.00
Nevada...........................           33            0         0.00
New Mexico.......................          968            0         0.00
New York.........................          378            1         0.26
Ohio.............................        5,747            3         0.05
Pennsylvania.....................          359            6         1.67
Rhode Island.....................          159            0         0.00
South Dakota.....................           17            0         0.00
West Virginia....................           97            0         0.00
Wyoming..........................          247            0         0.00
------------------------------------------------------------------------


Table E.--Phase I Sampling Results For Ethylbenzene in Ground Water 1988-
                                  1991                                  
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               Percent  
            State name              No. sites   No. sites w/   sites w/ 
                                     sampled       detects     detects  
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alabama..........................          160            8         5.00
Colorado.........................           30            0         0.00
Delaware.........................          130            0         0.00
Hawaii...........................           28            0         0.00
Maryland.........................          131            2         1.53
Minnesota........................          117            1         0.85
Missouri.........................          264           14         5.30
North Carolina...................          384           21         5.47
North Dakota.....................          414            2         0.48
Nevada...........................           58            0         0.00
New Mexico.......................        1,217           10         0.82
New York.........................          519            0         0.00
Ohio.............................        5,747           22         0.38
Pennsylvania.....................          371            1         0.27
Rhode Island.....................          166            2         1.20
South Dakota.....................           17            0         0.00
Washington.......................        2,112            4         0.19
West Virginia....................           97            1         1.03
Wyoming..........................          247            9         3.64
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The data above have several shortcomings, including the fact that 
they are not nationally representative. The reasons for this include 
(1) five States reported only positive results, which are included in 
Tables B and C,7 and (2) the laboratory sensitivity in 
detecting each contaminant is unknown, but can be assumed to vary from 
one State to the next. The first factor tends to skew the data in 
Tables B and C to an uncertain extent in favor of higher detection 
rates than are likely to be found in data representing a cross section 
of systems. The effect of the second factor is unknown. Further, the 
samples were probably not collected during the periods of greatest 
vulnerability, and many VOCs may evaporate from surface water, which 
may skew the results in favor of lower detection rates. Nevertheless, 
this is one of the largest collections of data available today, and 
provides substantial support for the initial conclusion that relatively 
few systems are contaminated.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \7\ Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan and Nebraska.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

(2) Sampling Results for Organic Compounds From 1992-1994
    Several States have volunteered compilations of their sampling 
results for organic chemicals.8 A detailed presentation of 
this data is available in the docket under, Sampling Results for 
Organic Compounds from 1992-1994. These results indicate VOC 
contamination rates that are significantly lower than those reported 
from the Phase I data. This difference may be due to improved waste 
solvent management practices mandated under the Resource Conservation & 
Recovery Act (RCRA), and to the closure of many of the contaminated 
wells identified by the Phase I monitoring.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ Although States have been sampling for most of the IOCs for 
20 years, few provided useful compilations. Most IOC occurrence is 
geologically based, and therefore not subject to rapid change. 
Today's notice would represent the first set of national drinking 
water monitoring requirements to recognize and account for the 
potential of IOCs to occur as a result of human activity.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    An aggregation of these data for eleven States, 9 Table 
F, shows that, for

[[Page 36105]]

a very high percentage of the several thousand sites sampled, none of 
the organic chemicals affected by these changes was detected. Only 
three VOCs were detected at more than 2% of the sites sampled (`boxed' 
numbers in right column). Exceedance of the MCL averaged less than 1% 
of the sampling points for each VOC (bottom row, second column from the 
right).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Kansas, 
Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico and Oregon are 
the States that have volunteered data to the Association of State 
Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA). They do not necessarily 
represent a valid cross section of all States, and the data for any 
one State may not represent a valid cross section for that State, 
but these data do represent the most complete and the most current 
information that EPA has received.

                     Table F.--Aggregated VOC Compliance Sampling Data From Selected States                     
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                            Percent of   Percent of     Total   
                                                               Number of     sites w/     sites w/    percent of
                  Chemical name and (phase)                      sites      detects <    detects >     sites w/ 
                                                                sampled        MCL          MCL        detects  
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Benzene (1).................................................       41,742         0.52         0.11         0.63
Carbon Tetrachloride (1)....................................       41,531         0.45         0.16         0.61
cis-1,2-Dichloroethylene (2)................................       38,404         1.11         0.02         1.13
1,2-Dichloroethane (1)......................................       41,501         0.58         0.10         0.68
1,1-Dichloroethylene (1)....................................       41,514         0.78         0.08         0.85
Dichloromethane (5).........................................       41,506         1.13         0.13         1.26
1,2-Dichloropropane (2).....................................       40,778         0.29         0.01         0.30
Ethylbenzene (2)............................................       41,240         0.54         0.00         0.55
Monochlorobenzene (2).......................................       41,713         0.12         0.00         0.12
o-Dichlorobenzene (2).......................................       41,313         0.10         0.00         0.10
p-dichlorobenzene (1).......................................       41,326         0.39         0.00         0.39
Styrene (2).................................................       36,455         0.13         0.00         0.13
trans-1,2-Dichloroethylene (2)..............................       41,453         0.14         0.00         0.14
Tetrachloroethylene (2).....................................       41,789         3.34         0.61         3.96
Toluene (2).................................................       41,233         1.05         0.01         1.06
1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene (5)..................................       36,388         0.09         0.00         0.09
1,1,1-Trichloroethane (5)...................................       41,523         2.61         0.00         2.62
1,1,2-Trichloroethane (5)...................................       40,990         0.09         0.02         0.11
Trichloroethylene [TCE] (1).................................       41,803         3.11         0.59         3.70
Vinyl Chloride (1)..........................................       41,471         0.06         0.05         0.11
Xylenes (2).................................................       41,059         0.97         0.00         0.97
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In the 1991 regulation, EPA offered no estimate of drinking water 
contamination by synthetic organic chemicals (SOCs), such as 
pesticides. Table G presents data gathered from ten 
States.10 Only three SOCs were detected at more than 2% of 
the sites--Dibromochloropropane (DBCP), Di(2-ethylhexyl)-phthalate, and 
Di(2-ethylhexyl)-adipate. Only DBCP and phthalate exceeded the MCL at 
more than \1/2\% of the sites sampled. Virtually all the DBCP 
detections were in California, where the product was produced and 
heavily used into the 1970s. Many of the phthalate and adipate 
detections are thought to be due to plasticizers leaching from plastic 
laboratory equipment containers and tubing, rather than from source 
water contamination.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \10\ Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Kansas, 
Mississippi, Oregon, New Jersey and Wisconsin are the States that 
have volunteered data to the Association of State Drinking Water 
Administrators (ASDWA). They do not necessarily represent a valid 
cross section of all States, and the data for any one State may not 
represent a valid cross section for that State, but these data do 
represent the most complete and the most current information that 
EPA has received.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As before, these data have several shortcomings, which include the 
fact that they may not be representative of the nation. The reasons for 
this are that (1) the data were volunteered by only a few States, and 
(2) the detection levels vary among these States. The effect of these 
factors is unknown. Also, it is unknown whether the systems for which 
sampling results were reported are representative of those in each 
State, or whether the sampling was targeted to the periods of greatest 
vulnerability. Based on this information, EPA believes that relatively 
few systems are contaminated with SOCs.

                      Table G.--Aggregated SOC Compliance Sampling Data From Selected States                    
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                            Percent of   Percent of     Total   
                                                               Number of     sites w/     sites w/    percent of
                  Chemical name and (phase)                      sites      detects <    detects >     sites w/ 
                                                                sampled        MCL          MCL        detects  
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alachlor (2)................................................        8,798         0.13         0.00         0.13
Atrazine (2)................................................        9,596         0.85         0.00         0.85
Benzo[a]pyrene (5)..........................................        6,074         0.26         0.00         0.26
Carbofuran (2)..............................................        8,214         0.28         0.00         0.28
Chlordane (2)...............................................        9,324         0.02         0.00         0.02
Dalapon (5).................................................        7,161         0.47         0.00         0.47
Dibromochloropropane [DBCP] (2).............................       10,187         2.95         1.36         4.32
Di(2-ethylhexyl)-adipate (5)................................        4,573         2.01         0.00         2.01
Di(2-ethylhexyl)-phthalate (5)..............................        6,556         2.81         0.78         3.58
Dinoseb (5).................................................        7,242         0.33         0.00         0.33
Dioxin [2,3,7,8-TCDD] (5)...................................        1,165         0.00         0.00         0.00
Diquat (5)..................................................        5,592         1.07         0.02         1.09
Endothall (5)...............................................        5,424         0.04         0.00         0.04
Endrin (5)..................................................        9,229         0.26         0.00         0.26
Ethylene Dibromide [EDB] (2)................................       10,184         0.16         0.36         0.52

[[Page 36106]]

                                                                                                                
Glyphosate (5)..............................................        6,796         0.06         0.00         0.06
Heptachlor (2)..............................................        8,770         0.06         0.01         0.07
Heptachlor Epoxide (2)......................................        8,773         0.13         0.02         0.15
Hexachlorobenzene (5).......................................        7,651         0.01         0.00         0.01
Hexachlorocyclopentadiene (5)...............................        7,340         0.07         0.00         0.07
Lindane (2).................................................        7,369         0.20         0.00         0.20
Methoxychlor (2)............................................        9,224         0.09         0.00         0.09
Oxamyl (5)..................................................        7,626         0.01         0.00         0.01
Picloram (5)................................................        4,602         0.02         0.00         0.02
Pentachlorophenol (2).......................................        6,428         0.06         0.00         0.06
Polychlorinated Biphenyls [PCBs] (2)........................        7,945         0.04         0.01         0.05
Silvex [2,4,5-TP] (2).......................................        8,522         0.55         0.00         0.55
Simazine (5)................................................        9,608         0.23         0.01         0.24
Toxaphene (2)...............................................        7,373         0.04         0.00         0.04
2,4-D (2)...................................................        8,739         0.47         0.00         0.47
Avg. % Detections...........................................  ...........         0.46         0.09         0.54
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In summary, EPA and the States have been discussing ways to reduce 
unnecessary monitoring requirements and to use chemical monitoring 
resources more efficiently since late 1992. EPA also sought input from 
outside organizations through public forums. The sampling results 
summarized above indicate that few systems are contaminated and that 
contamination levels vary widely among States. EPA believes that public 
resources can be used more efficiently by allowing States to focus on 
contaminated systems and systems at relatively high risk of 
contamination.

C. Overview of Approach for Chemical Monitoring Reform, Permanent 
Monitoring Relief and Anticipated Impact on Systems and States

    The approach outlined in this document would result in new 
monitoring requirements, and refine the required laboratory practices 
for the contaminants listed in Table A, above. 11 These new 
requirements would replace the current requirements for Inorganic 
Chemicals (IOCs), Synthetic Organic Chemicals (SOCs) and Volatile 
Organic Chemicals (VOCs). 12 The new monitoring requirements 
would be consolidated under one section (Sec. 141.23). The current 
monitoring requirements for nitrate and nitrite 13 would 
remain unchanged, but would be moved to Sec. 141.24(a). The maximum 
contaminant levels (MCLs) and designations of best available technology 
(BAT) would remain unaffected, as would the monitoring requirements for 
unregulated contaminants. All the provisions for radionuclides would 
remain unaffected, as would the requirements for lead and copper, for 
total trihalomethanes, and for microbial contaminants. The quality 
control criteria for chemical analyses would be consolidated in a 
separate technical criteria document incorporated by reference into the 
rule, as would the analytical methods and acceptance criteria for these 
chemicals. Note that EPA may, in a separate action, reformat all of the 
drinking water regulations in Part 141 and that would require the 
citations to change accordingly.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \11\ The MCLs for these contaminants are listed under 40 CFR 
141.11(b), 141.61(a), 141.61(c), 141.62(b)(1)-(6) and 141.62(b)(10)-
(15).
    \12\ These requirements currently appear under Secs. 141.23(a)-
(c) and 141.24(f)-(k).
    \13\ Currently under Secs. 141.23(d) and 141.23(e)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Chemical Monitoring Reform is based on six concepts. (1) Some 
systems are not sampling at the appropriate time of year or with 
sufficient frequency to detect significant levels of contamination. 
Several reports, including a U.S.G.S. study of the Mississippi River 
Basin, entitled Contaminants in the Mississippi River, 1987-1992, 
U.S.G.S. Circular 1133, 1995, and an Environmental Working Group (EWG) 
study entitled Weed Killers by the Glass, document springtime peaks in 
pesticide contamination of surface water supplies. (2) The percentage 
of systems that are contaminated is very low. The sampling data that 
support this view are summarized under Regulatory Background and 
included in the record for this document. (3) Public resources should 
be focused more on the systems that are contaminated or at risk of 
contamination, and less on systems that have low risk of contamination. 
(4) Because of their first hand knowledge of each system's operating 
environment and vulnerability, States are better able than EPA to 
determine which systems are at risk of contamination and which are not. 
For the same reason, States are also better able to determine the time 
of year and frequency of sampling that are most likely to detect 
contamination at its highest levels. (5) Source water protection 
measures should be expanded to minimize the number of systems 
contaminated in the future. (6) The current requirements are complex, 
and should be streamlined.
    EPA is considering addressing these concepts by revising the 
Federal monitoring framework, within which States operate, to provide 
States the flexibility to focus their resources on systems at risk of 
contamination. This would be accomplished by consolidating the baseline 
sampling requirements for all contaminants and all classes of systems 
into a single five year frequency, except for the `at risk' systems. 
States would be assigned the responsibility to review the vulnerability 
of all their systems, and to schedule the `at risk' systems to sample 
more frequently than once every five years based on the degree of each 
system's vulnerability. Further, all systems would generally be 
required to sample during the periods of greatest vulnerability as 
directed by the State. This would reduce the chance of contamination 
going undetected, and hence unaddressed.
    The development of these system-specific sampling schedules will 
typically involve the identification of potential contamination 
source(s) and an assessment of contaminant use patterns and the 
resulting periods of greatest vulnerability based on the management of 
those sources and intervening hydrogeologic or climatic features. This 
targeting, assessment and

[[Page 36107]]

scheduling activity closely parallels the efforts required under State 
Source Water Assessment Programs,14 and can be accomplished 
most efficiently by conducting a single assessment under both programs.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \14\ State Source Water Assessment Programs are mandated under 
section 1453 of the Act.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    If the monitoring results for the systems sampling every five years 
are below \1/2\ of the MCL, the systems would continue sampling every 
five years. If their sampling results are equal to or above \1/2\ of 
the MCL, the systems would sample more frequently as directed by the 
State.
    In their primacy applications to adopt Chemical Monitoring Reform, 
States would describe their programs to screen all systems and identify 
and schedule ``at risk'' systems for increased sampling, to determine 
the periods of greatest vulnerability, and to determine whether and how 
to schedule increased sampling for systems exceeding the trigger level. 
These State program descriptions would then undergo public review and 
comment, before their submittal to EPA for approval. EPA's review of 
the primacy applications would assure that each State has an effective 
plan, and the legal authority, to implement these provisions. As a last 
resort, EPA may intervene to schedule increased sampling for individual 
systems at risk of contamination, if the State fails to act. Table H 
highlights the main features of the Chemical Monitoring Reform approach 
in a flow chart.
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[[Page 36108]]

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[[Page 36109]]

    EPA expects that States will take advantage of the simplicity of 
today's approach. Table I illustrates the current sampling requirements 
starting in 1996 for most systems.16 There are different 
sampling frequencies for IOCs, SOCs and VOCs. For IOCs and VOCs, the 
requirements vary by type of source water i.e., surface water or ground 
water. For SOCs, the requirements vary by size of system i.e., larger 
or smaller than 3,300. As with Chemical Monitoring Reform, these 
requirements apply to each sampling point, and many small systems have 
three or four sampling points.

    \16\ Under the Phase V rule, systems serving < 150 service 
connections are not required to begin sampling for the Phase V 
contaminants until 1996. However, almost all States incorporated the 
sampling schedules of these systems into the sampling schedules 
under Phase II, which began in 1993, in the interests of 
administrative simplicity.
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[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP03JY97.001


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[[Page 36110]]

    Before EPA finished developing these changes for Chemical 
Monitoring Reform, Congress enacted the 1996 Amendments to the Safe 
Drinking Water Act. The Amendments that are functionally related to 
Chemical Monitoring Reform are discussed in Section III.M. Through one 
of these amendments,17 Congress authorized States that have 
received EPA approval of their Source Water Assessment Programs to 
offer Permanent Monitoring Relief to public water systems. The systems 
must have completed their source water assessments under the State 
program to be eligible for Permanent Monitoring Relief. 18 
Congress also directed EPA to publish guidelines by August 6, 1997, for 
States to follow in developing their PMR requirements.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \17\  See section1418(b).
    \18\  See section 1453(a)(3)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The new requirements of Chemical Monitoring Reform would be 
complemented by the draft Permanent Monitoring Relief (PMR) Guidelines 
in Section III.N., which will allow States to offer additional 
monitoring relief under specific conditions. Under the draft PMR 
guidelines in this document, States could allow systems to forgo 
monitoring of individual chemicals at specified sampling points during 
a five year period, either by granting a waiver, or by allowing the use 
of surrogate sampling results from other points. Systems could also be 
allowed to reduce the sampling frequency for nitrate under limited 
circumstances. In all cases, the State would make system-specific 
determinations in accordance with the PMR Guidelines.
    The draft PMR guidelines provide, generally, that systems that 
qualify for waivers will be those with long records of no detection, 
and for which a vulnerability assessment unambiguously shows that the 
system is not at risk of contamination. Monitoring results from a 
sampling point(s), or from a group of points, that are used as 
surrogates for the results from other sampling points, will be from 
samples of the most vulnerable portion of the same source water serving 
all of the sampling points. Reduced nitrate sampling will be allowed 
only where the sampling results over a long period are very low and the 
State determines that the prognosis is for more of the same.

D. Anticipated Impact on Systems and States

    EPA expects that States will support this approach because it 
provides flexibility to allocate more of their resources to 
contaminated systems and systems at risk of contamination, by one or 
more chemicals, and to reduce the monitoring burden for those systems 
where specific chemicals do not pose a risk to public health. For 
example, the same system may be at risk of contamination by certain 
pesticides, but have a very low risk of contamination by the other 
chemicals. By reducing the sampling burden at that system to one sample 
every five years for the low risk chemicals, the State can often `buy 
enough economic elbow room' to increase the sampling frequency for the 
high risk pesticides without imposing a significant net increase in 
monitoring burden. In many cases, even where the sampling for one or 
more contaminants under a single laboratory method is increased, the 
net effect for the system may be a decrease in overall sampling costs.
    EPA believes that most systems, including very small systems, would 
have a net decrease in sampling burden and cost and that only a small 
percentage of systems would have a net increase in sampling burden. 
Further, that net increase would occur only where the State assessment 
of public health risk indicates that the increase is warranted as an 
appropriate response to identified risk. For States, EPA believes that 
the net program burden would also be reduced, because the aggregate 
reduction in sampling frequencies would reduce the burden of tracking 
compliance with the sampling requirements, even though States would be 
required to develop plans for identifying at risk systems. This net 
reduction in sampling cost for the 64 chronic contaminants may provide 
further ``elbow room'' for systems and States to concentrate on higher 
priority contaminants. EPA seeks comment on this summary of the net 
effect of today's approach on system and State program burden.

III. Detailed Explanation of Draft Changes to Chemical Monitoring 
Requirements

A. Affected Water Systems

    Under Sec. 141.23 of these changes, the chemical monitoring 
requirements would apply to all community water systems (CWSs) and non-
transient, non-community water systems (NTNCWSs); this is the same as 
the current rule. Community water systems are those which serve at 
least 15 service connections used by year round residents, or regularly 
serve at least 25 year round residents e.g., cities, townships, 
district water authorities, and private water companies serving such 
communities. Non-transient, non-community water systems are those which 
are not community water systems, and which serve at least 25 of the 
same persons over six months of the year e.g., schools, factories or 
other facilities with their own separate water supply. Henceforth in 
this discussion, CWSs and NTNCWSs will be referred to collectively as 
water systems or systems.

B. Sampling Points

    Under Sec. 141.23(a) of these changes, all water systems would 
sample at each entry point to the distribution system after treatment. 
Under the PMR guidelines, exceptions to this may be allowed. However, 
some States may require sampling at each source water withdrawal point 
in order to quickly identify contaminated sources and initiate remedial 
action. States could establish alternative or additional sampling 
points, as long as the water delivered to the consumer is tested; this 
is the same as the current rule.
    In addition, systems would sample at any sampling point the State 
designates in addition to the entry point to the distribution system. 
For example, systems may be vulnerable to contamination from the 
asbestos cement pipes in the distribution system, or to infiltration 
where leaking solvents have dissolved portions of polyvinyl piping. 
States could address these situations by determining where systems must 
sample in addition to the entry point to the distribution system.

C. Time of Monitoring

    Under Sec. 141.23(b) of these changes, sampling would generally be 
conducted during the periods of greatest vulnerability, according to a 
schedule specified by the State. Periods of greatest vulnerability mean 
the periods during which contamination is most likely to occur at the 
highest concentration at a particular sampling point, based on the 
history of relevant factors for that sampling point e.g., U.S. Weather 
Bureau rainfall averages, local pesticide application practices.
    Under the current requirements, systems must sample according to 
nationally uniform schedules, based on prior sampling results and other 
factors (see 56 FR 3600-3612, January 30, 1991). The most frequent 
sampling is quarterly, which is designed to account for the seasonal 
variation in contaminant concentrations. Systems may satisfy this 
requirement by sampling at any time during each quarter. If systems are 
not sampling quarterly, they are sampling annually, triennially or less 
frequently, depending

[[Page 36111]]

on the type of system and the contaminant.
    Because the current requirements do not specify the time of 
sampling more precisely, contamination may go undetected; this is 
especially true for systems served by surface water (particularly river 
systems), or by ground water under the direct influence of surface 
water. For example, pesticides are typically applied during the Spring 
and Summer months and a high frequency series of sampling results from 
surface water systems during this period may show frequent spikes of 
contamination from runoff. However, a system sampling in early April 
may miss the contamination, and have a false sense of security about 
the safety of its drinking water.
    Today's approach would remedy this potential problem by assigning 
States the responsibility to schedule sampling during the periods of 
greatest vulnerability. This responsibility would require States to use 
sound science in assessing local patterns of contaminant use, where 
there are systems susceptible to significant seasonal variation in 
contaminant levels. The State set asides that are available from the 
new State Revolving Fund established under the 1996 Amendments to the 
Safe Drinking Water Act, for conducting source water assessments, could 
be used to assist States in making these determinations. EPA expects 
that the State schedules would evolve toward greater precision based on 
State experience and the growing knowledge of local industrial and 
agricultural practices.
    There has been some concern expressed about the workload impact on 
the capacity of laboratories to handle a large number of samples in a 
short period of time. Two factors mitigate this issue. First, the 
number of systems that are scheduled to sample more frequently than 
once every five years should not be great, and sampling for the other 
systems, which constitute the great majority of systems, can be divided 
over a five year period i.e., only a fifth of the systems under the 
five year sampling frequency would sample each year. Second, many 
systems (about 80%) are served by water supplies that are not subject 
to significant fluctuation over time e.g., deep ground water systems in 
geological settings other than fractured bedrock. States could schedule 
these systems to sample at different periods than the surface water 
systems (i.e., Autumn and Winter) to further balance the work load.
    EPA intends to prepare technical guidance, in consultation with the 
States, to assist them in scheduling sampling during the periods of 
greatest vulnerability, if this approach is promulgated.

D. Responsibility to Provide Information

    Under Sec. 141.23(c) of these changes, systems would be required to 
provide any information requested by the State. States may need 
information they do not have in their files to decide whether a system 
should sample more frequently than every five years. Failure by a 
system to provide this information would be cause for the State to 
schedule the system for increased sampling.
    The requirement to report all sampling results, including 
detections and non-detections, would be continued. EPA would clarify 
this provision by specifying that detections equal to or greater than 
the laboratory's MDL 23 must be reported as detections. The 
reporting of detections is necessary because, if contamination is 
detected, it means the sampling point is vulnerable to contamination. 
States need this information for determining which systems may need to 
sample more frequently than every five years.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \23\ Method Detection Limit (MDLs) are defined under 40 CFR Part 
136, Appendix B.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    EPA recognizes that some detections at the MDL may be incorrectly 
identified as to the chemical involved, owing to the difficulty of 
qualitatively characterizing contamination at that level. This is a 
general problem that can occur at any level, and that gets worse as the 
level of contamination gets lower i.e., closer to the MDL. But, it is 
also true that detection at the MDL means there is chemical 
contamination in the sample. States could recommend that systems direct 
their laboratories to use qualitative confirmation techniques to verify 
or invalidate all detections (see Methods Development and 
Implementation for the National Pesticides Survey, Munch, D.J., Graves, 
R.L., Maxey, R.A., and Engel, T.M., Environmental Science Technology, 
Vol. 24, No. 10, 1990. pp.1450-1451).

E. Mandatory Monitoring

    Under Sec. 141.23(d)(1) of these changes, as Chemical Monitoring 
Reform is implemented, systems would sample according to schedules 
specified by the State. If the State has made a screening decision and 
informed the system that the State will not specify a schedule for 
increased monitoring, the system would sample at least once every five 
years at each sampling point and this sampling would be conducted 
during the periods of greatest vulnerability as determined by the 
State. If the State does not specify a period of greatest 
vulnerability, the system is responsible for doing so, and must 
describe to the State its risk-based reasons for the period it 
specified. For example, a system might sample at an appropriate time in 
May because it knows that is the peak period of pesticide application.
    Sampling during the period of greatest vulnerability may require 
some systems to perform the same test more than once. This is because 
contaminants may have different periods of vulnerability and if they 
are covered by the same analytical method, the same test would have to 
be repeated. EPA seeks comment on whether this multi-period sampling 
might impose a significant burden, and if it would, specific examples 
of the burden and concrete proposals as to what might be done to reduce 
the burden while maintaining the capacity to monitor during vulnerable 
periods.
    This approach is different than the current requirements, under 
which the systems must sample according to a nationally uniform 
schedule (see 40 CFR, Secs. 141.23 through 24). There are four reasons 
why EPA is considering moving from current monitoring requirements to 
relying on States to schedule system specific monitoring requirements.
    First, States have gained a far more complete understanding of 
drinking water quality as it is affected by these chemicals. Today, 
most systems have completed several rounds of sampling or they have 
been granted sampling waivers based on the State's assessment of their 
vulnerability to contamination. States have established a base of 
information and experience related to the local conditions of 
individual water systems within each State that did not exist in 1991. 
Therefore, the level of detail in the current Federal monitoring 
requirements may no longer be necessary.
    Second, the compliance sampling results available today indicate 
that the number of drinking water sources contaminated with one of the 
chemicals affected by these changes is very low. As noted in the 
background discussion, the contamination of public water systems by any 
of the regulated organic chemicals in the systems for which sampling 
data was provided ranges from 5% to less than 0.5 %, and averages less 
than 1%.
    Third, the current monitoring requirements are complex, as 
illustrated in the monitoring decision diagram in Table I, above. This 
complexity is the result of establishing nationally uniform monitoring 
requirements that account for the differences among types and sizes of 
systems and contaminants.

[[Page 36112]]

There are sixty four chemicals, thirty two trigger levels, two types of 
source water (surface water, ground water), and two sizes of systems 
(greater than 3,300, less than 3,300).
    Fourth, the current monitoring requirements assume that all systems 
are vulnerable to contamination, and require each system to sample at 
relatively high frequencies, unless the State reduces the sampling 
frequency by granting a sampling waiver. In order to provide relief to 
systems that are not vulnerable, many States have invested resources to 
design and implement sampling waiver programs. That investment will now 
assist them to narrow the focus to those water systems that are already 
contaminated or at risk of contamination.
    Rather than initially presuming vulnerability of all systems, 
States' screening review should be neutral, but looking to good 
scientific data from State waiver programs, wellhead protection 
programs, source water assessments, and the like for a reasonably 
substantive basis to place systems in the ``at risk'' or ``not at 
risk'' categories. Under today's approach, States would now review the 
vulnerability of their systems to identify those with an apparent risk 
of contamination. States would schedule these systems for increased 
sampling according to the degree of their vulnerability. This would 
relieve those systems that are not contaminated, and that have little 
risk of contamination, of current burdens and complexity by 
consolidating and reducing the standard sampling frequency for all 
contaminants and all classes of systems to a minimum of one sample 
every five years. This will reduce the State resource burden enough to 
allow States to focus on systems that need to sample more frequently 
than every five years.
    EPA believes the five year sampling period is protective of public 
health, because the sampling will be conducted during the periods of 
greatest vulnerability, because the States will target those systems 
that are contaminated or at risk of contamination to sample at a 
greater frequency and because the MCLs of the contaminants affected by 
these changes are based on chronic health effects, which for most of 
the contaminants covers a seventy year period. The five year period has 
the advantages of coinciding with several periodic, important bases for 
developing data that will inform State determinations, including: (1) 
the five year time of travel adopted by many State Wellhead Protection 
Programs (WHPPs) for delineating Wellhead Protection Areas and Source 
Water Protection Areas, (2) many State schedules for conducting 
sanitary surveys at small water systems, and (3) the cycle for updating 
section 305(b) reports which inventory the quality of the nation's 
surface waters.
    The chemical monitoring reform work group considered other time 
periods for the frequency of the default sampling period and chose five 
years for the reasons mentioned above. EPA seeks comment on whether the 
Agency should propose a shorter or longer time period and, if so, why. 
EPA is considering default sampling periods ranging from every three 
years to six years.
    Shorter periods, such as three years, may appear to provide 
nominally more protection than the five year period, but would require 
more State resources to administer compliance with the shorter time 
frame and to respond to a higher demand for waivers than would be the 
case under the five year period. In most cases, these additional 
resources would be diverted from working on high priority water systems 
i.e., those that are already contaminated or at risk of contamination. 
Thus, it is not clear that a shorter time frame would automatically 
result in greater protection.
    Six years may appear to provide more relief than five years for 
systems that have little risk of contamination. That would require 
additional State resources to develop adequate information for the 
``not at risk'' determinations because, as noted above, most State 
Wellhead Protection Programs are referenced to a five year time of 
travel.

F. Detection  \1/2\ MCL

    Under Sec. 141.23 (e) through (f) of these changes, if any 
contaminant were detected at a level equal to or greater than \1/2\ of 
the MCL, the system would sample according to a schedule specified by 
the State. This trigger level was selected by considering the need to 
provide an adequate margin of safety in identifying potential MCL 
exceedances before they occur, the capability of laboratories across 
the country to identify contamination below the MCL, and the need to 
simplify the current requirements.
    When contamination is detected  \1/2\ of the MCL, States 
would determine the level of additional monitoring required to fully 
characterize the contamination. This deference to State discretion, in 
scheduling the follow up sampling based on local circumstances, is more 
effective than the current provisions at detecting MCL exceedances 
because the sampling schedule most likely to accurately characterize 
contamination depends on the history of sampling results at the 
sampling point and neighboring points, the susceptibility of the water 
supply to contamination, the most vulnerable periods of contamination, 
and local commercial practices. Today's approach would require States 
to consider those factors in establishing follow up sampling schedules. 
Today's approach would also require systems that exceed the MCL to take 
at least one sample during each of the following three quarters. And, 
whenever the levels of contamination may vary significantly during a 
quarter, the sampling schedule would have to account for the expected 
frequency and amplitude of that variation.
    Under the current monitoring requirements, any system that exceeds 
the trigger level must sample every quarter. There is no requirement 
for systems to follow up more quickly to characterize the contamination 
and there is no requirement for systems to sample during the periods of 
greatest vulnerability. Therefore, systems could mischaracterize the 
extent of contamination under the current requirements.
    The trigger level in these changes can be explained far more easily 
than the trigger levels under the current monitoring requirements, 
because the new trigger level would always be based on the potential 
for exceeding the MCL. This will enhance the ability of States and 
systems to assess MCL compliance, by focusing on the risk of MCL 
exceedances, rather than trying to figure out which trigger level 
applies to which contaminant.
    Under the current requirements, the trigger level for organic 
chemicals is detection. For VOCs the detection limit is 0.5g/
l, and for SOCs the EPA specified detection limit varies by 
contaminant. Thirty nine percent of the trigger levels for all organic 
chemicals are less than 1% of the MCL and fifty three percent of them 
are less than 5% of the MCL. Because all sampling under today's 
approach would be scheduled during the periods of greatest 
vulnerability, the sampling results would reflect the worst case level 
of contamination. Additionally, all detections must be reported to 
States under today's approach. While it is true that detection 
indicates a path of contamination, most water supplies are not subject 
to dramatic fluctuations in contamination levels and such low level 
detections rarely signal imminent exceedance of the MCL, at least in 
monitoring samples taken during the time of greatest vulnerability. 
Therefore, setting the trigger level at \1/2\MCL would be protective of 
public health, and would minimize the chances of

[[Page 36113]]

undetected MCL exceedances during other times of the year.
    Under the current requirements for inorganic chemicals (IOCs), 
systems do not have to begin quarterly sampling until the contaminant 
exceeds the MCL. This approach would be protective for naturally 
occurring contaminants, because the natural levels of fluctuation are 
usually slight and slow to change. However, when these chemicals 
contaminate water supplies as a result of human activity, the levels of 
fluctuation and time periods involved tend to mimic those of organic 
chemicals. Since virtually all of the IOCs can occur as a result of 
human activity, it would be more protective to establish a trigger 
level below the MCL for these contaminants.
    In summary, it is EPA's view that the trigger level in these 
changes would: (1) establish a uniform, understandable and practical 
criterion for increased sampling that is protective of public health; 
and (2) strike a reasonable balance between responding to contamination 
at very low levels, and taking no action until a contaminant has 
exceeded the MCL.
    EPA is, however, seeking comment on alternatives for proposing the 
trigger levels, recognizing that there is no perfect level for any one 
contaminant under all circumstances. Three of the possible alternatives 
are: (1) \1/2\ of the MCL or the practical quantitation level 
(PQL),24 whichever is higher; (2) detection of the 
contaminant; and (3) requiring use of the most sensitive methods.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \24\ The PQL is the lowest concentration at which a contaminant 
can be reliably measured.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

(1) Trigger=\1/2\MCL or the PQL, Whichever Is Higher
    This option would have the benefit of not requiring State action 
until the PQL has been exceeded. This means there would be a reasonable 
degree of certainty that a quantifiable level of contamination has 
actually occurred before the State would undertake its review to 
establish a sampling frequency based on the specifics of the 
contamination. For twenty five contaminants,25 however, the 
PQL equals the MCL. Therefore, this option has the potential problem of 
inadequately characterizing, and failing to responding to, 
contamination until it has exceeded the MCL.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \25\ Antimony, Thallium, Alachlor, Benzo[a]Pyrene, Chlordane, 
Dibromochloropropane, Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, Ethylene-dibromide, 
Heptachlor, Heptachlor Epoxide, Hexachlorobenzene, Lindane, 
Polychlorinated Biphenyls, Pentachlorophenol, Toxaphene, Dioxin, 
Benzene, Carbon Tetrachloride, 1,2-Dichloroethane, Dichloromethane, 
1,2-Dichloropropane, Tetrachloroethylene, 1,1,2-Trichloroethane, 
Trichloroethylene, Vinyl Chloride.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

(2) Trigger=Detection
    This option would offer the benefit of providing earlier warning of 
contamination than the options at higher levels. However, a trigger 
lower than \1/2\ of the MCL may not provide a real benefit in 
identifying potential MCL exceedances, because contaminant levels 
generally take many months to change significantly. Because the time of 
greatest vulnerability generally indicates the maximum level of 
contamination, this option would have the drawback of triggering many 
State reviews where MCL exceedances are unlikely, and would therefore 
impose a burden on States that may be unwarranted.
    This option also raises the issue of defining a detection. 
Detection should be the lowest concentration at which a laboratory can 
consistently detect, and correctly identify, individual contaminants in 
a variety of drinking water samples. Detection is more difficult in 
dirty water than in clean water. Detection is also determined by other 
variables, including the sensitivity of the analytical method used for 
measurement, the sophistication and age of the laboratory testing 
equipment, and the training and expertise of the laboratory staff. 
Therefore, detection will vary by laboratory and by system. EPA has not 
established SOC detection criteria for laboratory certification. That 
issue is being addressed under the new laboratory performance 
requirements described below in section III.J.
(3) Require Analytical Methods With the Most Sensitive Detection Levels
    Under this option, laboratories would be required to use the most 
sensitive analytical laboratory method for each contaminant. This may 
offer some assurance of early detection of low level contamination. 
However, many labs would be required to purchase new equipment to run 
these methods. This would raise the cost of the drinking water program 
for all systems, and could create a lab capacity problem, if many labs 
are unable to secure the necessary funding i.e., there would be fewer 
certified laboratories (and possibly an inadequate number) to conduct 
compliance analyses. As more contaminants become regulated, more new 
equipment would have to be purchased. That would further raise the cost 
of the program, and could make the lab capacity problem worse. Finally, 
due to the variability of laboratory expertise, some laboratories using 
the most sensitive methods may operate at higher (less sensitive) 
detection levels than are routinely achieved by other laboratories with 
more skillful personnel, who are using ostensibly less sensitive 
analytical methods.
G. MCL Violation Determinations
    Under Sec. 141.23(g) of these changes, all MCL violations would be 
determined by the average annual concentration of the contaminant. This 
is very similar to the current provisions for determining violations 
when the system has been sampling at a quarterly frequency i.e., MCL 
violations are based on the running annual average of the prior year's 
sampling results. Under today's approach, all MCL violations would be 
determined by the average of four consecutive quarterly values, 
beginning with the quarter in which the initial MCL exceedance occurs. 
26 The States would schedule the sampling in each subsequent 
quarter to include the periods of greatest vulnerability during that 
quarter. Each quarterly value would be determined by the time balanced 
average of all samples taken in that quarter i.e., the State would 
divide each quarter into equal segments, and use the average of the 
sampling results from each segment to calculate the quarterly value. By 
limiting the annual calculation to four quarterly values, we would 
avoid skewing the annual average to the periods of highest sampling 
frequency.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \26\ Sometimes, the MCL exceedance may occur at the end of a 
quarter, and therefore, may not be representative of a time balanced 
average of multiple samples taken throughout the quarter. In this 
case, the State should choose to begin calculating the annual 
average concentration in the quarter following the quarter in which 
the initial MCL exceedance occurred, so that the MCL compliance 
determination is based on four consecutive quarterly values that are 
representative of each quarter.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For example, a State might divide a quarter into one month 
segments. The State might then schedule only one sample during each of 
the two months considered low vulnerability segments, and ten samples 
(three days apart) during the month it considers to be the high 
vulnerability segment. The ten samples from the high vulnerability 
month would be averaged to provide a single data point for that 
segment. The quarterly value would be the average of the three monthly 
data points. The State may require only one sample during those 
quarters in which the contaminant concentration is not expected to vary 
significantly.
    This process of segmentation would accomplish three objectives. (1) 
It would yield an annual value representative of the average annual 
contaminant concentration that includes

[[Page 36114]]

representation from the periods of highest concentration. (2) As 
mentioned above, it would avoid unduly skewing the annual average to 
the sampling results showing the highest concentrations. (3) It would 
prevent systems from using periods of low concentration to load up on 
the sampling results that would cast a downward bias onto the annual 
average.
    If the average of one or more quarters would cause the average 
annual concentration to exceed the MCL, the system would be in 
violation of the MCL from the end of that quarter. This assures that 
compliance determinations would be made as soon as the average annual 
contaminant levels can be established as > MCL, but not until then.
    EPA also seeks comment on whether systems failing to comply with a 
State schedule to characterize contamination after an MCL exceedance 
should be required to notify the public of a potential MCL violation. 
Specifically, EPA is considering a provision that would require any 
system that has exceeded the MCL, and subsequently failed to comply 
with a State schedule to fully characterize the average annual 
contamination levels, to issue a public notice under Sec. 141.32 within 
30 days of its failure to comply with the State sampling schedule.
    This notice would include the health effects language under 
Sec. 141.32 for the contaminant exceeding the MCL, and would further 
state (a) that the MCL has been exceeded, (b) that an MCL violation is 
based on the average annual level of contamination, (c) that the 
sampling schedule to effectively characterize the average annual level 
of contamination is based on local circumstances of contaminant 
fluctuation, and (d) that the system has failed to comply with the 
State sampling schedule to determine whether the system is in violation 
of the MCL. Failure to issue a public notice in accordance with these 
requirements would be a violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

H. Laboratory Certification Criteria

    The quality control provisions associated with measuring the 
chemicals covered by these changes, the approved analytical methods for 
measuring compliance with the MCL, and the Performance Evaluation (PE) 
acceptance limits for those contaminants, would be consolidated in EPA 
Technical Criteria Document for the Analysis of Selected Chemical 
Contaminants in Drinking Water (i.e. the EPA Technical Criteria 
Document) incorporated by reference under Sec. 141.23(j). A copy of 
this document is attached to this discussion as Appendix A, so the 
reader may review its provisions in conjunction with the other 
provisions of this document. This subsection would specify that all 
samples must be analyzed by laboratories certified by EPA or by the 
State, and that the State or EPA may suspend or revoke a laboratory's 
certification for failure to achieve the prescribed operating 
requirements and standards. This provision would supersede Sec. 141.28 
for lab certification under Sec. 141.23.
    The incorporation by reference of the EPA Technical Criteria 
Document into the Federal Regulations means that the requirements in 
the technical document would be part of the regulations and would be 
fully enforceable. The reason for moving the laboratory provisions into 
a separate document is that the audience for these requirements is 
different than the audience for the general program monitoring 
requirements. State program managers, their staff and EPA Regional 
Office program coordinators are interested in the program requirements 
described in these draft changes. The State laboratory certification 
officers, State lab directors, EPA Regional Office laboratory 
certification officers and private lab personnel are mainly interested 
in the highly technical requirements pertaining to laboratory 
measurement of chemicals. A technical manual is a much better format 
for system technicians and laboratory analysts who need an operational 
reference document.
    With the exception of four changes described below, and highlighted 
in the text of the criteria document (Appendix A), the laboratory 
requirements in this document are the same as the current laboratory 
requirements (see 40 CFR Sections 141.23-24). Since those provisions 
have already undergone notice and comment, EPA is not opening those 
provisions for further public comment today. EPA is describing the 
current requirements in this preamble (1) So the reader can better 
understand how today's approach would fit into the total structure of 
laboratory requirements; and (2) because these requirements are being 
consolidated from several parts of the current rule into the technical 
criteria document identified above.
    In a concurrent effort to the development of today's approach, EPA 
has been reviewing several inexpensive methods for detecting and 
measuring drinking water contaminants. These are generally referred to 
as immuno-assays, or immuno-assay kits. They cost about $15 to $30 a 
test, which is much less than some of the methods currently approved, 
which can cost up to several hundred dollars. EPA requests comment on 
the following concepts.
    (1) EPA has long required that laboratories pass performance 
evaluation (PE) samples within prescribed acceptance limits, but has 
not specified a frequency for these tests. All States require labs to 
pass these PE tests at least every year, and EPA believes that is an 
appropriate requirement. These changes would adopt the universal State 
requirement for laboratories to successfully analyze PE samples at a 
minimum of once each year as provided by EPA, the State, or other 
parties that have been approved by the State or EPA.
    (2) Under the current requirements of EPA's methods, laboratories 
using a method for the first time must calculate their method detection 
limits (MDL) for each contaminant covered by that method. However, 
there are no parameters for the time frame over which the MDL samples 
must be analyzed. Therefore, EPA is considering proposing that the 
extraction and analysis of the MDL samples must be performed over a 
period of at least three days. This same procedure was adopted under 
the Information Collection Rule (61 FR 24354, May 14, 1996), because 
EPA believes that this procedure results in a more realistic MDL 
determination.
    (3) Under the current requirements of EPA methods, laboratories 
must analyze a laboratory fortified blank (LFB) with each batch of 
samples. LFBs are quality control samples of purified water with known 
concentrations of certain contaminants (i.e., the regulated 
contaminants affected by these changes) that are subjected to 
laboratory analysis, as a check on the reliability of the results 
produced from real world samples of unknown contaminant concentrations. 
The requirements for LFBs are specified in the individual EPA methods, 
which labs must follow. Most EPA methods require laboratories to 
analyze LFBs at a concentration equal to ten times the method detection 
limit (MDL), ten times the estimated detection limit (EDL), or at a 
mid-point of the measurement calibration curve.
    Under these changes, laboratories would have to analyze a subset of 
these LFBs at the trigger level of \1/2\ of the MCL or less, and at the 
level used to calculate the laboratory MDL. A record of the results of 
each LFB would have to be maintained until the next State certification 
audit or for five years--whichever is longer, and would be available to 
the State upon request. States would make these records

[[Page 36115]]

available to EPA upon request. Generally, the analyses of LFBs at 
specified concentrations would not affect the regulatory burden under 
the current requirements, because those analyses must be performed 
anyway and the cost of performing an analysis at one contaminant level 
is usually the same as performing it at another level. However, EPA 
seeks comment on whether running LFBs at these levels, which may be 
lower than the current customary levels, would result in a significant 
increase in the incidence of recalibrating or fine tuning the 
laboratory measuring equipment and whether that would result in a 
significant increase in laboratory operating costs.
    The record of each laboratory's operational sensitivity at the 
trigger level, and the level used to calculate the MDL, would serve the 
following objectives. One, the records would provide a means for States 
to assure that laboratory performance is sufficiently reliable to 
protect public health. Two, a statistical analysis of these records 
would provide the basis for States or EPA to establish uniform 
performance criteria at these levels.
    These changes would require laboratories to analyze an LFB at \1/2\ 
of the MCL or less at least once per week during any week in which 
drinking water compliance samples are analyzed. This provision would 
provide an ongoing check on the reliability of each laboratory's 
ability to identify contamination at the trigger level. These changes 
would also require laboratories to analyze at least one LFB per month 
at the concentration that was used to calculate the MDL, during any 
month in which drinking water compliance samples are analyzed. The 
purpose of this is to maintain an ongoing record of each laboratory's 
ability to detect low level contamination.
    It is important to characterize what ``no detection'' means for 
each laboratory, because the systems that contract with each laboratory 
will be reporting all detections to the State. The States will be 
making system targeting decisions and sampling waiver determinations 
based in part on whether or not contamination has been detected at the 
sampling point. For this reason, today's approach is considering 
requiring laboratories, as a condition of certification, to maintain 
records of these analyses in the format in paragraph IV of the 
technical criteria document, at least until the next State 
certification audit report has been completed.
    (4) These changes would set the trigger for polychlorinated 
biphenyls (PCBs) at 0.00025 mg/L (i.e., \1/2\ of the MCL), measured as 
decachlorobiphenyl. However, the approved PCB screening methods in the 
technical criteria document that determine whether or not the trigger 
level has been exceeded do not measure decachlorobiphenyl. They measure 
Aroclors, the values for which can be converted to decachlorobiphenyl 
using the conversion table under paragraph III.A. of the technical 
criteria document. Laboratories must use one of the EPA approved 
screening methods in analyzing LFBs at the trigger level for PCBs.

I. New Systems and New Sources

    Under Sec. 141.23(k) of these changes, any public water system or 
source of water supplying a public water system that begins operation 
after (the publication date of the final rule), would have to 
demonstrate compliance with all applicable MCLs in this part within a 
period of time specified by the State, unless the State waives testing 
for certain contaminants in accordance with its approved waiver 
process.

J. Sample Compositing

    The current requirements allow systems to combine two to five 
samples before they are analyzed for contamination. This feature allows 
systems to reduce sampling costs by half or more, depending upon the 
number of samples composited. However, this feature may allow 
contamination to go undetected, where the contamination in one sample 
is masked by dilution from the other samples. In an extreme case, 
contamination at the MCL in one sample could be invisible to the 
laboratory analysis, where it is masked by four clean samples and where 
the laboratory detection sensitivity is hovering at or just above one 
fifth of the MCL.
    For this reason, EPA is considering whether to discontinue its use. 
Some States, however, have expressed an interest in continuing 
compositing under conditions that would assure the same levels of 
detection sensitivity as those available for single sample analyses. 
EPA is open to suggestions to allow sample compositing in the limited 
cases where the criteria for single sample analysis would not be 
sacrificed.
    Commenters wishing to allow systems to use sample compositing under 
Chemical Monitoring Reform should identify which contaminants would be 
covered, the single sample detection criterion the State would 
establish for each contaminant, and explain how the detection criteria 
would be enforced for both single sample analyses and composited sample 
analyses. The single sample detection criterion should be sufficiently 
far below the trigger level of \1/2\ of the MCL as to assure that 
quantitation at \1/2\ of the MCL will be within reasonable precision.
    That requirement will probably eliminate many contaminants as 
candidates for compositing, because the composite sample detection 
criteria must be consistent with the single sample criterion i.e., if 
the State sets the single sample detection criterion at one tenth of 
the MCL (five times lower than the quantitation at \1/2\ of the MCL), 
the detection criterion for a composite of two samples would be one 
twentieth the MCL (i.e., \1/2\ the single sample detection criterion) 
and it would be one fortieth of the MCL for a composite of four 
samples, etc.

K. Records Kept by States

    40 CFR 142.14(d) (4) through (5) requires States to keep records of 
vulnerability and monitoring decisions. This document clarifies these 
provisions by describing examples of the most recent vulnerability 
decisions and monitoring frequency decisions. Under Sec. 142.15(d)(4), 
the most recent State decisions include those related to targeting 
systems for increased sampling and those involving sampling points that 
have exceeded the trigger level. Under Sec. 142.15(d)(5), records of 
the most recent monitoring frequency decisions include those based on 
the targeting and vulnerability determinations identified above. 
Included in the records would be the data that States used in making 
these decisions.

L. Special State Primacy Requirements

    Under Section 1413(c) of the Safe Drinking Water Act, as amended, a 
State that has primary enforcement authority for all drinking water 
regulations, would have interim primacy for Chemical Monitoring Reform 
beginning on the date the State submits its regulations and a complete 
primacy application to EPA, and ending when the Administrator makes a 
determination of the primacy application.
    State program revisions would include: (1) the State's regulations 
or implementing provisions under Secs. 141.2 and 141.23; (2) the State 
Targeting Plan described below; and (3) State's certification that its 
program, including the targeting plan, is enforceable under State law. 
Once adopted, the State program must operate in accordance with 
Secs. 141.2 and 141.23, the approved State Targeting Plan, and the 
provisions of Sec. 142.16(e)(3) for scheduling sampling when 
contaminants are detected  \1/2\ of the MCL.

[[Page 36116]]

1. Implementing Provisions
    The implementing provisions under Part 141 are:

Sec. 141.2  Definitions
Sec. 141.23(a)  General (types of systems affected)
Sec. 141.23(b)  Sampling Points
Sec. 141.23(c)  Responsibility to Provide Information
Sec. 141.23(d)  Mandatory Monitoring
Sec. 141.23(e)  Detection  \1/2\ of the MCL
Sec. 141.23(f)  Detection > MCL
Sec. 141.23(g)  Violation Determinations
Sec. 141.23(h)  Laboratory Certification Criteria
Sec. 141.23(i)  New Systems & New Sources

    Under Sec. 141.23 (e) through (f) of these changes, whenever a 
system detects a contaminant at a concentration equal to or greater 
than the draft trigger level of \1/2\ of the MCL, the system would be 
required to sample at an increased frequency as directed by the State. 
If a contaminant exceeds the MCL, the system must take at least one 
sample per quarter for the following three quarters, in addition to any 
additional samples required by the State to assure that the average 
annual level of contamination is fully characterized. State decisions 
must be documented in writing.
    States would be required under Sec. 142.16(e)(3) of these changes 
to include specific factors in their review of these detections, 
including: (i) The history of sampling results for the sampling point 
and for neighboring sampling points; (ii) The susceptibility of the 
water supply to contamination; (iii) The periods most vulnerable to 
contamination for the sampling point; (iv) The contaminant's solubility 
and other characteristics; and (v) The agricultural and commercial 
practices, and the efficacy of any source water protection measures 
that have been enacted, within the source water review area. Further, 
States would have to account for the estimated frequency and amplitude 
of contaminant fluctuation in each sampling schedule.
2. State Targeting Plans
    Under today's approach, States would identify those systems that 
need to sample more frequently than every five years based on local 
vulnerability, and every system scheduled by the State to sample more 
frequently than every five years under Sec. 141.23(d), must do so. 
Systems must also sample during the periods of greatest vulnerability 
as designated by the State. Under Sec. 142.16(e)(2), States would be 
required to describe their strategy for implementing this flexibility 
in a State Targeting Plan.
    Specifically, a State Targeting Plan would describe the State's 
plans to screen all systems to identify vulnerable systems and the 
sampling points that need to sample more frequently than once every 
five years, for determining the frequency of sampling based on the 
degree of vulnerability, and for updating the State's list of targeted 
sampling points based on changing information. The targeting plan would 
also describe the factors the State would consider in determining the 
periods of greatest vulnerability and for scheduling the time of year 
and frequency at which each system must sample.
    A State targeting plan would also indicate that the State may 
require a system to sample more frequently than every five years, at a 
minimum, based on any one or a combination of the following factors: 
(1) the fate and transport of a contaminant; (2) any agricultural, 
commercial or industrial activity in the source water review area; (3) 
the susceptibility of the source water to contamination; or (4) the 
results of source water assessments conducted under section 1453 of the 
Safe Drinking Water Act. States may list additional factors upon which 
they would require a system to sample more frequently than every five 
years, and States may subsequently require systems to sample more 
frequently than every five years based on a factor not listed in its 
targeting plan.
    Finally, each State would provide the EPA Regional Administrator 
with its initial list, or categorical description, of systems that it 
has targeted to sample more frequently than every five years, within 
one year after it has submitted a complete primacy revision application 
to EPA. States would be required to update this list annually, and to 
make it available to the public upon request. EPA seeks comment on 
whether one year (which is in addition to the time prior to the 
submission of the State's primacy revision application) is sufficient 
time for the screening decisions, or whether a different period is 
appropriate for States to inform all of their systems of their 
individual sampling schedules. EPA also seeks comment on whether to 
require systems to continue sampling in accordance with their current 
schedules until the State has informed them of its screening and 
monitoring decisions.
    EPA is considering another option to the version described above. 
The second version includes the approach above, and would also require 
States to specifically target systems served by surface water, or by 
ground water under the direct influence of surface water, to sample 
more frequently than every five years, unless (or until) the State 
determines that increased sampling is not required based on the degree 
of an individual system's vulnerability to contamination (e.g., the 
contaminant is not used in the source water review area), or based on a 
finding that the risk posed by such levels of contamination is not 
significant. This provision would establish a presumption of 
vulnerability for surface water systems, and for ground water systems 
under the direct influence of surface water, because of their inherent 
susceptibility to contamination, and regardless of the presence or 
absence of potential contamination sources in the Watershed & Recharge 
Area.
    EPA also seeks comment on whether the initial detection of a 
contaminant within the source water review area should be an 
alternative basis for the presumption of vulnerability. This criterion 
would apply to any detection from the most recent round of sampling 
that has not been discarded as a false detection in accordance with 
State sampling confirmation procedures. The presumption would not apply 
to detections for which the sources of contamination have been 
identified, and the health risk posed by the contamination has been 
described, to the satisfaction of the State.
3. State Certification
    The requirement for States to certify that their program revisions 
are fully enforceable under State law is not new, but the significance 
of the certification under these changes would be greater than usual. 
In reviewing State primacy programs and certifications, EPA would give 
special attention to the State's authority to impose and enforce 
requirements for individual systems to sample more frequently than 
every five years, and to sample during the periods of greatest 
vulnerability.
4. Oversight of State Decisions
    There would be two avenues for EPA intervention into State chemical 
monitoring decisions, short of initiating primacy withdrawal. The first 
method is provided by section 1431(a) of the Safe Drinking Water Act, 
which authorizes EPA to take such actions as necessary to protect 
public health, whenever a contaminant may present an imminent and 
substantial endangerment to public health. EPA may exercise this option 
under the appropriate circumstances, without regard to any other 
provision in these draft changes. For circumstances that do not warrant 
a finding of imminent and substantial endangerment, EPA would rely on 
40

[[Page 36117]]

CFR 142.18, as presented in this document.
    Section 142.18 of the current regulations authorize an EPA Regional 
Administrator to annul State sampling waiver determinations. This 
section provides EPA with an alternative to primacy withdrawal, if EPA 
should find a pattern of State decisions that are contrary to the 
approved State program. In today's action, EPA is considering 
increasing the list of State decisions in which a Regional 
Administrator can intervene to include (1) the absence of State action 
to require increased monitoring under Secs. 141.23 (c) through (g) and 
(2) State decisions to grant monitoring relief under section 1418 of 
the Safe Drinking Water Act. EPA could issue a monitoring order to: 
annul a State waiver; annul a State surrogate sampling point 
designation; annul a State monitoring relief decision made pursuant to 
section 1418 of the SDWA; or make a determination to increase 
monitoring in the absence of State action. EPA seeks comment on which 
of these State decisions the Regional Administrators should be 
authorized to annul in addition to waivers.
    Neither the current provisions, nor the possible changes described 
above are intended to authorize regular, random or arbitrary EPA 
intervention on individual State monitoring decisions. They are 
intended to authorize an appropriate EPA response to a pattern of State 
decisions which conflict substantially with the bases in an approved 
program on which the State has agreed to make those decisions. The EPA 
monitoring order would be based on a failure by the State to implement 
its approved program, and would take effect only after public notice 
and comment. This provision is a safety valve that would provide for 
EPA action, short of primacy withdrawal, in the face of a State's abuse 
of its discretion.
    Finally, as explained in the overview of this document, EPA expects 
most States to support today's approach to reform the chemical 
monitoring requirements. However, as shown in the table below, some 
provisions in the current requirements are more stringent and some are 
less stringent. EPA considers the current monitoring requirements, that 
were published on January 30, 1991 and that have been adopted by all 
States, to be as stringent, taken as a whole, as the provisions in this 
document. Therefore, EPA is considering allowing States to continue 
operating under the current requirements indefinitely. EPA seeks 
comment on allowing States to continue under the current requirements, 
if they prefer to do so.

M. Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments

    Prior to the enactment of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) 
Amendments of 1996, Chemical Monitoring Reform (CMR) was envisioned as 
a free-standing initiative for monitoring revision and burden 
reduction. During the development of CMR, Section 1418(b) of the SDWA 
Amendments directed EPA to publish, by August 6, 1997, guidance for 
``Permanent Monitoring Relief'' (PMR). This PMR would authorize States 
to provide ``tailored alternative monitoring requirements'' for public 
water systems upon completion of source water assessments in States 
with approved programs under Section 1453 of the SDWA Amendments. This 
notice describes in detail below the relationship between potential 
characteristics of CMR, PMR, and the source water assessment activities 
that are required by the SDWA Amendments.
    As described below, Section 1418(b) authorizes PMR's features for 
monitoring flexibility to be broader in coverage than CMR was framed to 
be. If EPA develops two parallel programs for monitoring relief, there 
could be substantial potential for confusion, overlap, conflict, and 
unnecessary expenditure of scarce resources. EPA believes that Section 
1418(b) directs EPA to frame PMR as a broad program for monitoring 
relief. To implement the Amendments effectively and efficiently, EPA 
must examine the actions it is required to take under the PMR 
provisions of the Amendments, and ensure that its exercise of 
discretion to frame CMR complements rather than complicates the 
implementation of PMR by States and public water systems.
    Today EPA provides (1) advance notice of its intent to revise 
current monitoring regulations to provide for targeted, heightened 
monitoring for systems at risk of contamination and a new, simplified 
framework of reduced monitoring for systems not at risk (CMR), and (2) 
draft guidelines for PMR which would include additional burden 
reduction features. This advance notice is being provided in this form 
for two reasons. First, while it might have been possible to frame this 
entire monitoring initiative as PMR under SDWA Section 1418(b), EPA has 
decided to issue these proposals as two joint elements--PMR and CMR. 
EPA developed CMR in consultation with many members of the drinking 
water community over a period of nearly two and a half years, most of 
which pre-dated the enactment of the SDWA Amendments of 1996. Congress 
was aware of the CMR process when it enacted additional relief in the 
form of PMR. EPA believes separate approaches best meshes the 
expectations for CMR, and its responsibilities under the 1996 
Amendments for PMR.
    Second, this notice contains what EPA believes to be a reasonable 
and coherent alignment of the several components of a more flexible but 
potentially more protective monitoring regime. Under the approach in 
this notice, States can choose to retain their approved primacy 
regulations for the current monitoring framework for Phase II and Phase 
V chemical monitoring, and adopt (or not, if they choose) the burden 
reduction features of PMR (additional waiver authority, surrogate 
sampling, reduced nitrate sampling). Or, they can choose to adopt CMR 
as their new primacy regulation for monitoring--which includes CMR's 
basic, simplified monitoring framework and its provisions requiring 
targeted monitoring for systems at risk of contamination--and adopt (or 
not) the burden reduction features of PMR.
    EPA recognizes that if a State adopts CMR before it obtains 
approval of its Source Water Assessment Program and source water 
assessments are completed for individual systems, the State would be 
unable to grant monitoring waivers. This feature of the strategy for 
integrating CMR and PMR may have the unintended consequence of 
discouraging States from adopting CMR and retaining Phase II and V, 
since Phase II and V provide for waivers. To address this, EPA is 
considering allowing States that proceed with adopting CMR to retain 
their existing approved waiver programs until the expiration of the 
State's timetable for completing the assessments. States would not be 
able to renew waivers after this date, unless it has met these 
statutory requirements. EPA solicits comments on this issue.
    EPA further seeks comment on whether or not to apply this same 
approach to renewing waivers to States that choose to retain the Phase 
II and V rules. This would preclude States from renewing waivers for 
any public water system for which the State has failed to complete a 
source water assessment after the expiration of the State's timetable 
for completing all such assessments. The rationale for this approach 
would be that it is important for States to apply any updated 
information generated by the assessments to waiver decisions that would 
be made after the assessments are completed. Although EPA is only

[[Page 36118]]

seeking comment on this approach, there are at least two reasons to 
expect that it would not be burdensome for States or systems. First, 
EPA is taking steps to provide States with the maximum amount of time 
available under the law to begin and complete their assessment program 
by the most cost effective and prioritized approaches possible, using 
up to the full amount of the more than $120 million made available for 
assessments by Congress. Second, any water system with an existing 
waiver would already have a substantial and, in some cases, the full 
amount of information needed for a source water assessment, meaning 
these systems are among the likeliest candidates for expeditious 
completion of assessments.
    EPA believes this array of features would in general present a 
reasonable, coherent and effective approach, but acknowledges that 
alternative arrays of these features within CMR or PMR are possible. 
Because alternative arrays could have significant implications for 
coherence, operation, and (potentially) compliance with various 
requirements of SDWA, EPA wants to present this notice for public 
comment on its substance as well as on the operational implications of 
this particular form in which the features of monitoring are arrayed.
    The following are the various key components from which a State may 
choose to frame its monitoring regime. EPA is requesting comment on 
whether to delete or rearrange any elements of CMR or PMR. A complete 
presentation of EPA's proposed guidelines for PMR can be found in 
Section III.N, below.

BILLING CODE 6560-50-P

[[Page 36119]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP03JY97.002



BILLING CODE 6560-50-C

[[Page 36120]]

    For commenters who propose transferring to a CMR rule all or part 
of the burden reduction features proposed today for PMR, EPA requests 
that their comments also discuss what similar or different burden 
reduction features should be included in PMR, for which EPA is required 
to publish guidelines, and how they believe these two frameworks for 
monitoring should be coordinated, operationally and structurally. In 
light of Congress' enactment of Section 1418(b), if EPA is to place any 
of PMR's burden reduction features within CMR, specific benefits and 
functions that could only be achieved within CMR should be identified.
    Comments proposing modifications to the monitoring requirements 
under CMR for systems with little to no risk of contamination (one test 
in five years) should address the expected public health implications 
of the proposed modifications.
    EPA also requests comments on the basis for the monitoring 
requirements for systems at risk of contamination: the Phase II and 
Phase V requirements currently in place; the targeted approach for 
specifying heightened monitoring proposed as a part of CMR today; or 
some other approach, such as a range of monitoring frequencies EPA 
could specify to apply to different categories of contaminant, source 
water or water system conditions that would trigger increased 
monitoring. It is necessary to consider these requirements when 
commenting on PMR because Section 1418(b)(3) specifies that public 
water systems that are monitoring under PMR provisions and that detect 
contaminants at levels that are not ``reliably or consistently below'' 
the MCL and that do not ``eliminate the contamination problem'' must 
return to the monitoring frequencies specified in the applicable NPDWR 
(Section 1418(b)(3)(B)). Currently, the monitoring frequencies under 
the applicable NPDWR are those specified under the existing Standard 
Monitoring Framework for Phase II and Phase V contaminants, which 
requires quarterly monitoring for these systems. The monitoring 
frequencies under CMR would be the heightened monitoring requirements 
for systems at risk of contamination.
    EPA cannot consider comments proposing the actual or effective 
deletion of PMR, because it is required under Section 1418(b) to 
publish guidelines for PMR.
    Greater economic efficiency is an important value of the SDWA 
Amendments of 1996 because it can enable the limited funds of public 
water systems and States to be focused on the greatest risks to health. 
Nonetheless, protection of public health itself remains the dominant 
consideration under the SDWA. In monitoring as elsewhere in 
implementation of the SDWA Amendments, EPA has a statutory obligation 
to see that structures and decisions in PMR and CMR equally are based 
on the adequate scientific information necessary to ensure that public 
health is protected. To strengthen public confidence in drinking water 
safety, consumers must know that a decision to reduce monitoring of 
their water supplies is well-grounded in adequate scientific data and 
analysis of their water system, that any waiver of monitoring is based 
on a scientific judgement that the contaminant will not be present at 
problematic levels during the waiver period, and that any detection at 
problematic levels of a contaminant subject to reduced monitoring will 
quickly lead to appropriately heightened monitoring. The following 
discussion identifies the means to provide such scientific information.
    In Section 1418, Congress expressly provided that completion for a 
water system of a source water assessment, pursuant to an approved 
State Source Water Assessment Program (SWAP) under Section 1453, was a 
prerequisite to granting PMR to that system. Section 1453 requires 
States to establish and implement SWAPs. To do this work, Section 
1452(k)(1)(C) makes available to States, and allows them to obligate 
over 4 fiscal years, up to 10 percent of the funds allotted to them for 
State Revolving Funds in Fiscal Year 1997, a total of over $120 million 
nationally. EPA is committed in Headquarters and in the Regions to 
ensure successful assessments, and will as needed assist States on the 
Drinking Water SRF set-asides, on stretching assessment dollars by 
strong involvement of all capable participants in the assessments, and 
by encouraging exchange of information about good models for 
assessments and use of existing information to place within the 
assessments. EPA believes that this funding and support will yield 
useful assessments that can enable PMR to be provided where 
appropriate, and will place source water protection on a firm base.
    The Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996 also require EPA to 
publish guidance for these two efforts--Source Water Assessments and 
Permanent Monitoring Relief--at the same time, one year after enactment 
(that is, on August 6, 1997). This timing ensures that, as States began 
to develop their SWAPs under Section 1453 guidance, they will know what 
information is needed to provide their systems with Permanent 
Monitoring Relief, and can frame their assessment programs to generate 
(among other things) the data necessary for PMR. EPA's draft Source 
Water Assessment guidance of April 4, 1997, proposed that existing 
delineations and source inventories done under approved State Wellhead 
Protection Programs would be adequate to fulfill the delineation and 
inventory requirements of Section 1453 for those ground water based 
systems. However, States should examine whether these delineations and 
inventories provide sufficient information to support all aspects of 
PMR, and should consider modifying them under their SWAPs where 
necessary to take full advantage of the regulatory flexibilities 
offered in PMR.
    Under CMR, the basic monitoring frequency in the proposed rule, of 
1 sample every 5 years, is to be founded on the determination that the 
system is not at risk. In deciding what information is necessary to 
make determinations under CMR, today's proposal relies on a level of 
information rather than the process to generate that information (that 
is, the source water assessment process) specified for PMR under 
Section 1418(b).
    The kinds of data on source water, occurrence, susceptibility, use, 
and the like that would be generated by a source water assessment 
appear necessary to make adequately informed determinations for all 
functions of CMR: on which systems are or are not at risk, to develop a 
targeting plan for at-risk systems, and to specify sampling times of 
greatest vulnerability for systems that are not. States are not 
required to undertake a formal source water assessment process to 
generate such data for CMR, but they are required to have and apply the 
level of data that would be generated by an assessment to make CMR 
determinations. This level of data will be consistent with the criteria 
for completion of assessments each State has defined in their EPA-
approved assessment program, and likely will vary depending on the 
nature and condition of a system (i.e., community or non-community, at 
risk or not at risk, etc.). In other words, States can apply a screen 
that is essentially equivalent to a source water assessment to ensure 
they have adequate scientific data to make CMR determinations, but they 
need not complete a formal assessment to do so. EPA may also include in 
its final source water assessment guidance (to be published no later 
than August 6, 1997) a provision in which States can use this 
``assessment equivalence'' concept to allow the use of information 
generated

[[Page 36121]]

by States for Chemical Monitoring Reform to be used to complete source 
water assessments, at a level appropriate to the situation of the water 
system.
    This data requirement (Sec. 142.16(e)(2)(i)(A) of these changes) 
should not slow CMR implementation. Many States have already gathered 
considerable data on contamination sources, performed vulnerability 
assessments, and analyzed monitoring data on these contaminants in 
implementing the Phase II and V rules and in developing approved waiver 
programs under those rules. Many States have also performed similar 
work in developing wellhead protection programs. States are also 
required to submit to EPA their source water assessment programs by 
February, 1999. Because EPA does not expect to promulgate final CMR 
regulations before August, 1998, States can thus incorporate the 
characteristics of completed ``assessment equivalents''--waiver 
programs, monitoring results, and wellhead protection programs--into 
their overall CMR plan, for targeting at-risk systems and providing the 
simplified monitoring framework for systems not at risk. States can put 
their overall CMR plan into effect when EPA approves their primacy 
regulations for CMR. They can determine which systems are or are not at 
risk where they have this ``assessment equivalence'' level of 
information.

N. Permanent Monitoring Relief Guidelines

Introduction
    The Permanent Monitoring Relief provision of the Safe Drinking 
Water Act (the Act) authorizes primacy States to adopt ``tailored 
alternative monitoring requirements'' for most chemical contaminants. 
Under that provision, State monitoring relief must comply with guidance 
published by EPA, as well as ``assure compliance with, and enforcement 
of, the applicable national primary drinking water regulations.''
    Congress directed EPA to publish guidelines ``for States to follow 
in proposing alternative monitoring requirements.'' These guidelines 
must (1) assure that ``public health will be protected from drinking 
water contamination,'' (2) require States to apply this monitoring 
relief ``on a contaminant-by-contaminant basis,'' and (3) require that, 
to be eligible for monitoring relief, a system must show that the 
contaminant is not present in the water supply, or, if present, is 
reliably and consistently below the MCL, or that ``action has been 
taken to eliminate the contamination problem.''
    Congress also specified that each State must develop, and secure 
EPA approval of, a Source Water Assessment Program under section 1453 
of the Act, and that a source water assessment must be complete for any 
system to which such alternative monitoring requirements would be 
available.27 The guidance for approvable State Source Water 
Assessment Programs must be published by August, 6, 1997.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \27\ See sections 1418(b) and 1453(a)(3)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Overview
    States may offer Permanent Monitoring Relief for the sixty four 
(64) contaminants listed in Table I, below, and for nitrate. Permanent 
Monitoring Relief is not available for microbial contaminants, for 
indicators thereof, or for contaminants formed within a distribution 
system as a result of disinfection or corrosion.

      Table I.--Contaminants Affected by Chemical Monitoring Reform     
                                                                        
                                                                        
                                                                         
Inorganic Chemicals (IOCs):                                             
    [1] Antimony, [2] Arsenic, [3] Asbestos, [4] Barium, [5] Beryllium, 
     [6] Cadmium, [7] Chromium, [8] Cyanide, [9] Fluoride, [10] Mercury,
     [11] Nickel, [12] Selenium, [13] Thallium.                         
Synthetic Organic Chemicals (SOCs):                                     
    [1] 2,4-D (Formula 40 Weeder 64); [2] 2,3,7,8-TCDD (Dioxin); [3]    
     2,4,5-TP (Silvex); [4] Alachlor (Lasso); [5] Atrazine; [6]         
     Benzo[a]pyrene; [7] Carbofuran; [8] Chlordane; [9] Dalapon; [10]   
     Di(2-ethylhexyl)adipate; [11] Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate; [12]      
     Dibromochloropropane (DBCP); [13] Dinoseb; [14] Diquat; [15]       
     Endothall; [16] Endrin; [17] Ethylene dibromide (EDB); [18]        
     Glyphosate; [19] Heptachlor epoxide; [20] Heptachlor; [21]         
     Hexachloro-cyclopentadiene; [22] Hexachlorobenzene; [23] Lindane;  
     [24] Methoxychlor; [25] Oxamyl (Vydate); [26] Pentachlorophenol;   
     [27] Picloram; [28] Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs); [29]         
     Simazine; [30] Toxaphene.                                          
Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs):                                      
    [1] 1,1-Dichloroethylene; [2] 1,1,2-Trichloroethane; [3] 1,1,1-     
     Trichloroethane; [4] 1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene; [5] 1,2-              
     Dichloropropane; [6] 1,2-Dichloroethane; [7] Benzene; [8] Carbon   
     tetrachloride; [9] cis-1,2-Dichloroethylene; [10] Dichloromethane; 
     [11] Ethylbenzene; [12] Monochlorobenzene; [13] o-Dichlorobenzene; 
     [14] p-Dichlorobenzene; [15] Styrene; [16] Tetrachloroethylene;    
     [17] Toluene; [18] trans-1,2-Dichloroethylene; [19]                
     Trichloroethylene; [20] Vinyl Chloride; [21] Xylenes.              
                                                                        

    For contaminants identified in Table I, States could, under PMR, 
grant waivers to permit systems to forgo the sampling requirements of 
one sample every five years, and can allow systems to conduct surrogate 
sampling from sampling points within a system, or among two or more 
systems, in lieu of sampling at every entry point to the distribution 
system. These waiver and surrogate sampling provisions are presented in 
greater detail in Sections A and B, respectively. For nitrate, States 
could permit systems to reduce the sampling frequency from annual to 
biennial under certain conditions. These provisions are described in 
Section C. Section D explains the process for State adoption and EPA 
approval of Permanent Monitoring Relief and Section E provides 
definitions of key terms used in these guidelines.

Section A--Sampling Waivers for Chronic Contaminants

    Under the Chemical Monitoring Reform approach, water systems would 
sample at a minimum of once every five years during the time of 
greatest vulnerability for each of the sixty four contaminants listed 
in Table I, above. Under the PMR guidelines, a State could allow a 
system to forgo monitoring at specified sampling points during a 
monitoring period by granting a sampling waiver.
    EPA seeks comment from States and systems on whether the relief 
provided by five year waivers would be meaningful, in light of the cost 
difference between sampling once every five years or updating a 
vulnerability analysis to review a waiver every five years, 
understanding that waivers could be granted on an area wide basis, and 
do not have to be done on an individual system basis.
    (1) State Findings Required for Waivers: Under PMR, a State could 
grant a waiver allowing a system to forgo sampling during a five year

[[Page 36122]]

monitoring period, if the State, at a minimum, makes one of the 
following determinations.
    (a) The State may determine that the sampling point is free of 
contamination and there is a high probability that it will remain so 
during the term of the waiver. A State may not make this determination, 
if the contaminant has been detected within the source water review 
area of the sampling point within the last five years.
    (b) The State may determine that the contaminant level will remain 
reliably and consistently below the MCL during the sampling period 
based on a finding that:
    (i) the natural occurrence levels are stable and the contaminant 
does not occur because of human activity; or
    (ii) all the sources of potential contamination within the source 
water review area: have been identified, brought under control, and 
will pose no increased or additional risk of contamination to the 
source water withdrawal point during the sampling period; and the 
contaminant levels have peaked based on the history of sampling results 
and the duration of the contaminant in the environment; or
    (iii) the treatment at the sampling point is properly operated and 
maintained, and is working reliably and effectively.
    (c) A State may not make any of the three determinations under this 
paragraph, if the contaminant was detected at a level  \1/2\ 
of the MCL in the most recent sampling series for that sampling point.
    (2) General Considerations: In making waiver decisions the State 
shall, at a minimum, consider the following factors.
    (a) the fate and transport of the contaminant;
    (b) the patterns of contaminant use;
    (c) the location of potential contamination sources within the 
source water review area;
    (d) the hydrogeologic features within the source water review area;
    (e) the integrity of the structures delivering source water to the 
sampling point;
    (f) the results of all source water assessments that have been 
completed within the source water review area;
    (g) the efficacy of any source water protection measures that have 
been enacted, and;
    (h) for waivers based on the contaminant remaining reliably and 
consistently below the MCL for the sampling period, the relationship of 
the sampling results to the MCL, the variability of the sampling 
results over time, and the trend of the sampling results.
    (3) System Responsibility: Each water system granted a sampling 
waiver under this paragraph shall notify the State within 30 days of 
the time it first learns of any change in any of the conditions under 
which a waiver was granted.
    (4) State Review of Waiver Determinations: The State shall review 
its decision to grant or renew a waiver, whenever it learns of a change 
in the circumstances upon which the waiver was granted. The State may 
amend the terms of a waiver, or revoke a waiver at any time.
    (5) Waiver Renewals: A State may renew a sampling waiver by making 
the same determination it made to initially grant the waiver, after 
reviewing current assessments of the factors that are subject to change 
during the term of the waiver, and that affect the finding(s) upon 
which the waiver is based.
    (6) Waivers for Cyanide: Before granting a waiver for cyanide, the 
State shall determine whether cyanide is present in the system's source 
water.

Section B--Surrogate Sampling Points

    A State may allow a system, or several systems, to use the 
monitoring results from the sampling point(s) designated by the State 
as surrogate point(s), if the State determines that the source water 
serving the surrogate sampling points is drawn from the most vulnerable 
portion of the same contiguous source water.
    (1) Intra-system Surrogate Sampling: For designating surrogate 
sampling points within one system, the State shall consider a 
sufficient record of the pertinent information below and the results of 
the source water assessments that have been completed under section 
1453 of the Safe Drinking Water Act
    (a) Monitoring data demonstrating that the sampling results are < 
\1/2\ MCL;
    (b) Well log or surface water hydrology data demonstrating that the 
points to be included in the surrogate sampling point program draw from 
the same contiguous source water; and
    (c) An inventory of the potential contamination sources within the 
source water review area affecting all the sampling points to be 
included in the surrogate sampling point program.
    The State shall also require the system to validate the results of 
the surrogate sampling points. For example, where one sampling point 
among three in a small system has been designated as the surrogate 
point, the State might require the other two points to rotate the 
sample every five years. This would reduce the system sampling burden 
by one third.
    (2) Inter-system Surrogate Sampling: For designating surrogate 
sampling points among systems, a State must first receive EPA approval 
of its criteria and procedures for implementing an Inter-system 
Surrogate Sampling Point Program, that meets the criteria of this 
paragraph. Two or more systems may use the monitoring results from 
surrogate sampling points designated by the State, based on a complete 
assessment of the contiguous source water that has been approved by the 
State and that describes:
    (a) The requirements for validation sampling (For example, where 
several sampling points among dozens in several systems have been 
designated as the surrogate points, the State might require the next 
most vulnerable tier of sampling points to ``round robin'' the sample 
every five years. This could significantly reduce the overall sampling 
burden.);
    (b) The location of potential contamination sources that could 
affect any of the Community Water Systems or Non-transient, Non-
community Water Systems drawing from the contiguous source water.
    (c) The hydrogeologic features of the contiguous source water; and
    (d) The relationships among potential contamination sources, the 
hydrogeologic features and the source water withdrawal points, with 
particular regard to their relative locations.
    (3) Validation Sampling: Whenever the sampling results at a 
surrogate point are  \1/2\ of the MCL, the State shall 
require the systems to conduct validation sampling at each of the 
points represented by that surrogate point. Surrogate sampling shall be 
discontinued for that sampling point, and for any sampling points that 
it represents, if the contaminant is  \1/2\ MCL. The State 
shall then decide which sampling points to target for increased 
sampling, which, if any, to default to once every five years, and 
which, if any, may be appropriate for a smaller surrogate sampling 
arrangement.
    (4) System Responsibility: Each system shall notify the State 
within 30 days of the time it first learns of any change in any of the 
conditions under which any surrogate sampling point has been 
designated.
    (5) State Review of Surrogate Sampling Point Designations: The 
State shall review its decision to designate any surrogate sampling 
point, whenever it learns of a change in the circumstances upon which 
the point was designated.
    EPA seeks comment on its distinction between intra-system surrogate 
sampling and inter-system surrogate sampling, and the requirements

[[Page 36123]]

associated with each. EPA made the distinction because it believes that 
inter-system surrogate sampling is likely to be more complex and 
require more sophisticated analyses that intra-system surrogate 
sampling. There may be situations, however, where inter-system 
surrogate sampling is simple or where intra-system surrogate sampling 
is complex. EPA seeks comment on whether the distinction should be made 
on the complexity of analyses as opposed to the intra-system and inter-
systems distinction. Commenters should provide specific suggestions for 
making an alternative distinction.

Section C--Reduced Nitrate Sampling

    States may reduce the nitrate monitoring frequency from annual to 
biennial sampling for a sampling point served exclusively by ground 
water under the following conditions:
    (1) Maximum Allowed Concentration: Nitrate measured as N has not 
exceeded a concentration equal to or greater than 2 milligrams per 
liter at any time during the past ten years;
    (2) Integrity of Structures and Equipment: The State has determined 
that the design and construction of the structures and equipment 
delivering water from the wellhead to the distribution system fully 
comply with current State code for such structures and equipment;
    (3) Freedom from Surface Water Intrusion: The State has determined 
that the ground water serving the sampling point is not under the 
direct influence of surface water, and is not susceptible to 
significant changes in contamination levels during the period for which 
the sampling would be reduced e.g., not a shallow well, not in 
fractured bedrock;
    (4) State Determination: The State has determined that (a) nitrate 
sampling is not required as a precursor to microbial or viral 
contamination, (b) land uses, or relevant land use based conditions 
(such as the effective operation of septic systems) in the area 
affecting the sampling point are unlikely to change in a way that would 
increase the risk of nitrate contamination, and (c) any contamination 
at the sampling point is very unlikely to exceed the 2 mg/l during the 
reduced sampling period;
    (5) Effect of Detection  2 mg/l: If nitrate is detected 
at  2 mg/l, measured as N, the system shall return to an 
annual sampling frequency under the State requirements adopted pursuant 
to the national primary drinking water regulations; and
    (6) System Responsibility and State Review: Each system shall 
notify the State within 30 days of the time it learns of any change the 
conditions under which the reduced sampling for nitrate has been 
allowed, particularly of any change in land use practices. The State 
shall review its decision to reduce the sampling frequency, whenever it 
learns of a change in the circumstances upon which its decision was 
based.
    EPA also seeks comment on [a] whether the Agency should use a 
threshold other than 2 mg/l as one of the bases for reduced monitoring, 
[b] whether EPA should set a reduced frequency other than biennial 
sampling, or [c] whether EPA should establish a sliding scale of longer 
sampling frequencies e.g., three year frequency based on a threshold of 
2 mg/l, and five year frequency based on a threshold of 1 mg/l.

Section D--State Adoption and EPA Approval of Permanent Monitoring 
Relief

    The Act specifies that State Permanent Monitoring Relief provisions 
will be treated as ``applicable'' national primary drinking water 
regulations, which means they must be enforceable under both State and 
Federal law.28 The Act defines an enforceable State 
requirement as a ``State program approved pursuant to this part.'' 
29 In order to assure that the State Permanent Monitoring 
Relief provisions will be Federally enforceable, EPA must review and 
approve the State program. Therefore, any State adoption of alternative 
monitoring requirements to offer Permanent Monitoring Relief must be at 
least as stringent as these requirements and adhere to each of the 
following steps.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \28\ See Sec. 1418(c)
    \29\ See Sec. 1414(i)(4).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (1) State Program Description: The State shall describe the 
information it will review, and its procedures and decision criteria 
for issuing waivers under Section A, designating surrogate sampling 
points under Section B, or allowing systems to sample biennially for 
nitrate under Section C. At a minimum, the State Program Description 
shall include the criteria under Sections A-C (respectively) for each 
form of monitoring relief that the State proposes to offer, and specify 
that the State will retain a record of the most recent vulnerability 
determination for each sampling point, including:
    (a) Those resulting in a decision to grant a sampling waiver under 
Section A;
    (b) Those resulting in a decision to allow the use of intra-system 
surrogate sampling points under Section B(1); and
    (c) Those resulting in the approval of source water assessments and 
the location of geographically targeted sampling points based on those 
source water assessments under Section B(2).
    (2) Notice and Comment: The State must provide notice and 
opportunity for public comment on the requirements.
    (3) Attorney General Certification: The Attorney General must 
certify in writing that the alternative State monitoring requirements 
were duly adopted under State law, are enforceable under State law, and 
comply with EPA's Permanent Monitoring Relief Guidelines and with 
Secs. 1418 (b) through (c) of the Safe Drinking Water Act, as amended 
August 6, 1996.
    (4) State Source Water Assessment Program: EPA must have approved 
the State's Source Water Assessment Program.
    (5) EPA Review and Decision: Unless EPA notifies the State of its 
disapproval of the State requirements within 9 months of EPA's receipt 
of a complete set of the proposed State requirements, the State 
requirements will take effect on the date of the State's submittal of a 
complete program, or the effective date of its regulations, whichever 
occurs later.
    (a) A notice of disapproval will include the identification of the 
part(s) of the State requirements at issue and the remedies necessary 
to render those parts approvable.
    (b) The State requirements shall not take effect until the State 
has corrected the problems identified by EPA, and resubmitted its 
revised program for review.
    (6) EPA Review of State Determinations: A Regional Administrator 
may annul a State decision to grant a waiver, to designate a surrogate 
sampling point, or to reduce nitrate sampling, under the procedures 
specified in 40 CFR, Part 142.18. EPA is seeking comment on whether to 
expand this authority to these and other State decisions.

Section E--Definitions

    (1) Contiguous source water means, for the purposes of these 
guidelines, a source or several inter-connected sources of public 
drinking water:
    (a) Comprised of surface water, or ground water, or ground water 
under the direct influence of surface water, or any combination 
thereof, that serves two or more source water withdrawal points; and
    (b) From within which contamination that can reach any one of the 
source water withdrawal points, can also reach any of the other source 
water withdrawal points.

[[Page 36124]]

    (2) Monitoring period means a five year period during which water 
systems are required under 40 CFR 141.23 to take at least one sample 
during the time of greatest vulnerability.
    (3) Source Water Review Area (SWRA) means the surface and 
subsurface area within which a contaminant can reach the source water 
withdrawal point, or any point between it and the entry point to the 
distribution system (e.g., an aqueduct), during the time between 
regularly scheduled samples. The size and shape will vary depending 
upon several factors, including the sampling period and the 
hydrogeologic features within the area. Where systems use ground water, 
the SWRA could be the Source Water Protection Area (SWPA) established 
under the Safe Drinking Water Act, where the SWPA is based on a time of 
travel delineation consistent with the sampling period i.e., 5 years. 
For surface water, the SWRA is the watershed upstream of the source 
water withdrawal point.
    (4) Surrogate sampling points mean the sampling point(s) within a 
group of sampling points: within one water system e.g., under a 
Wellhead Protection Program, that meets the criteria for intra-system 
surrogate sampling point designations; or within a group of water 
systems, that are designated by the State as the most vulnerable to 
contamination and, therefore, can be used to represent all the sampling 
points within the group.
    (5) Validation sampling means sampling at one or more points 
represented by surrogate sampling points, in order to verify that the 
surrogate points are representative of those sampling points.

O. Suggestions for Regulatory Burden Reduction Other Than Chemical 
Monitoring Reform

    As explained in the Summary of Draft Changes, as part of the 
President's initiative to ``Reinvent Environmental Regulation'', EPA 
has been reviewing the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations 
(NPDWRs) to find opportunities for reducing the paperwork burden on 
public water systems and State drinking water agencies, and has 
solicited input from States, water utilities, and environmental groups. 
That process yielded a number of suggestions, including many which have 
been incorporated into the Chemical Monitoring Reform approach that is 
presented today. ``Stakeholders'' did, however, make suggestions other 
than those related to Chemical Monitoring Reform. EPA believes a few of 
these suggestions deserve further consideration. Consequently, we are 
presenting those suggestions below, and are requesting comment, data, 
or other relevant information on each so that the Agency can more fully 
evaluate their merits for possible subsequent rulemaking.
    It should be noted that none of the following suggestions were 
unanimously embraced by all stakeholders, and some received more 
stakeholder support than others. The suggestions follow:
(1) Surface Water Treatment Requirements
    Extend various deadlines associated with filtration of ground 
waters under the direct influence of surface water.
    Section 142.16(b)(2)(B) of the regulations require States to 
determine which community water systems are served by ground water 
under the direct influence (GWUDI) of surface waters by June 29, 1994, 
and which noncommunity water systems are GWUDI by June 29, 1999. 
Section 141.71 of the regulations then requires that, within 18 months 
after a system has been designated as a GWUDI, the State must determine 
whether the system has to install filtration treatment or is able to 
avoid filtration.
    It has been suggested that provisions be adopted which would allow 
for extensions of these two requirements. Some stakeholders believed 
that while many GWUDI determinations are relatively easy, others are 
quite complex--requiring additional time to complete. Some States also 
have many more such determinations to make. The suggestion was to 
provide States with additional time to make the determinations for 
these more complex cases or where an extremely large number of 
determinations is required. It was suggested that States be allowed 
additional time to make the filtration determinations where they are 
particularly complex or there are an extremely large number of 
determinations to make.
    In both cases, the suggestion was to allow for such extensions on a 
case by case basis, possibly through a formal request to EPA for an 
extension for specific systems. The suggestions also envisioned that 
the extensions would be for a finite time period (possibly 2 to 5 
years), to be specified in the federal regulations.
(2) General Reporting Requirements
    (a) Eliminate the requirement for water systems to report 
monitoring violations to the State. Section 141.31(b) of the current 
federal regulations requires public water systems to report a violation 
of any regulatory requirement to the State. One such requirement is 
that a system must notify the State any time it fails to conduct any 
required monitoring. In practice, States do not typically rely on water 
systems to inform them of such failures. A system which does not 
perform some required monitoring is not likely to notify the State of 
that failure. Rather, States normally treat failure to receive 
laboratory analytical results as the indicator that monitoring did not 
occur. As a result, it has been suggested that the federal 
requirement--that systems report instances of failure to monitor--is 
redundant, and is serving no useful purpose. The interpretation is that 
since there is a Federal requirement for water systems to report 
analytical results of all monitoring to the State, a requirement to 
notify the State of a failure to monitor is, in effect, redundant, and 
thus unnecessary.
    The intended purpose behind the requirement was to ensure that 
States knew where required monitoring was not occurring so that they 
could take some type of action to correct that failure. Advocates of 
this approach believe that experience suggests that purpose is being 
served without needing the support of the federal requirement. It has 
been suggested, therefore, that EPA eliminate the federal requirement 
that water systems must report monitoring violations to the State. 
Systems would still be required to report analytical results of all 
required monitoring to the State. With the suggested change, however, 
States would have the option of continuing to require systems to report 
monitoring failures to the State (although this would now be through 
State, rather than federal, regulations), or treating any failure to 
provide the analytical results as a monitoring failure. In either case 
the State would know that follow-up action was necessary--fulfilling 
the intent of the original federal requirement. Further, a water system 
would still be required to notify the public of its failure to conduct 
the required monitoring [Sec. 141.32(b)]. The consumers would, 
therefore, be aware that some required monitoring had not occurred and 
could take citizen action to resolve that failure. In addition, States 
would still be required to follow-up on, and resolve, such failures. 
Finally, States would still be required to notify EPA of all water 
system monitoring failures. Advocates believe that EPA would, 
therefore, continue to have all the information that it currently has 
about such failures and the Federal oversight and enforcement 
capabilities

[[Page 36125]]

would not be diminished. The suggested change would, in this view, not 
alter a State's knowledge about a water system's failure to monitor, a 
State's obligation to correct that failure, a State's obligation to 
report the failure to EPA, the system's obligation to inform the public 
about the failure, or EPA authorities to take an enforcement action 
against the system. The change would only give a State the flexibility 
to decide how it wants to arrive at a determination that a system has 
failed to conduct some required monitoring.
    (b) Reduce the frequency of reporting violation information to EPA. 
Section 142.15(a) of the current regulations requires States to submit 
to the Agency, quarterly reports of; (a) new violations by public water 
systems, (b) new enforcement actions taken by the State against public 
water systems, and (c) new variances and exemptions granted by the 
State during the previous quarter. The violations and enforcement data 
include acute and chronic contaminants, violations of actual safety 
standards (MCLs, treatment techniques, etc), and failures to sample or 
report according to schedule. Some of these violations represent a 
greater risk to public health than others and some are more time 
sensitive than others. As an example, violations of acute contaminants 
(such as e-Coli, or fecal coliforms) or violations associated with 
acute contaminants (such as total coliforms), typically need to be 
addressed sooner than do violations of chronic contaminants. As such, 
the regulatory agency needs to be aware of a violation of an acute 
contaminant sooner than it does a violation of a chronic contaminant. 
Similarly, violations of maximum contaminant levels (indicating actual 
contamination) typically require more immediate attention than do 
violations of monitoring requirements. Even different types of 
monitoring violations deserve different levels of attention. ``Major'' 
monitoring violations (those in which none of the required monitoring 
was conducted) need to be addressed and resolved much sooner than do 
``minor'' monitoring violations (those in which some, but not all of 
the required monitoring was conducted).
    There is also a distinction in the urgency for any violation 
information among the different users of that information. States are 
typically the primary enforcement authority for the drinking water 
requirements, with EPA serving a secondary role. The primary 
enforcement authority needs to make decisions about violation severity 
and appropriate remedy, and therefore, typically needs information more 
quickly than does the secondary overseer. In States where a State 
agency has been delegated this primary enforcement authority, EPA 
typically becomes involved only when a violation is considered 
``significant'', or where it is clear that EPA involvement is necessary 
to resolve the problem. Other than these special situations, EPA's role 
is one of evaluating the success of the drinking water program through 
the surrogate of compliance/violation statistics.
    For these reasons, some stakeholders questioned EPA's need for all 
of the above information, on a quarterly basis. It has been suggested 
that EPA align the frequency of State reporting to the importance of 
the information to the Agency. One suggestion was to continue to 
require quarterly reporting of violations of all maximum contaminant 
levels (MCLs), treatment techniques, and State enforcement actions 
against those violations, but to reduce to annually all other State 
reporting. Another suggestion was to require quarterly reporting of all 
information (MCL, treatment technique, reporting, etc) related to acute 
contaminants, but to reduce to annually the reporting of all 
information related to chronic contaminants.
    It should be noted that a few stakeholders believed that reducing 
the reporting frequency would actually increase, rather than decrease, 
the burden on States. Some stakeholders noted the problems and 
obstacles faced by States in transmitting violation data to EPA (such 
things as identifying why certain data is rejected by the automated 
data system), and believed that ``saving'' resolution of all these 
problems until the end of the year would actually take much more time 
than would have been required if done on a quarterly basis.
    EPA requests comment on these suggestions and solicits ideas for 
other ways of reducing the frequency of reports from the State to EPA.

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Parts 141 and 142

    Environmental protection, Administrative practices and procedures, 
Intergovernmental relations, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, 
Water supply, Indians.

    Dated: June 26, 1997.
Carol M. Browner,
Administrator.

Appendix A to Preamble: EPA Technical Criteria Document for the 
Analysis of Selected Chemicals in Drinking Water

(The four suggestions for change described in the preamble and subject 
to comment are highlighted in the following technical criteria document 
with [brackets].)
    Contaminant Performance Criteria: In order to receive and retain 
certification for analyzing samples to determine compliance under 40 
CFR 141.23 and Part 141, Subpart I, a laboratory would have to meet the 
following requirements.
    I. Laboratory Method Detection limits (MDLs): Before initially 
using an EPA approved method to analyze compliance samples, each 
laboratory would calculate the MDL for each regulated contaminant 
covered by that method using at least seven replicates in accordance 
with the procedure in 40 CFR, Part 136 Appendix B, [except that the 
LFBs used to calculate the MDL must be extracted (if applicable), and 
analyzed over a period of at least three days]. The requirement to 
calculate the initial MDL over a three day or longer period does not 
apply to MDL calculations conducted before October 1, 1997.
    A. Each laboratory would achieve an MDL of 0.5 g/l for 
each VOC listed under Sec. 141.61(a), an MDL of 1 g/l for 
lead, and for copper--an MDL of 1 g/l or 200 g/l when 
atomic absorption direct aspiration is used.
    B. Each laboratory would achieve the detection limits specified by 
the State for all other contaminants listed under Secs. 141.11(b), 
141.61(c) and 141.62(b) (1) through (6), 141.62(b) (10) through (15) 
and 141.82(c)(3).
    II. Ongoing Quality Control: Each laboratory would analyze a 
laboratory fortified blank (LFB) with each batch of samples. The spike 
levels of each LFB would be as specified by the individual methods or 
consistent with standard laboratory practices, except that:
    A. [Trigger Level LFBs--(i) Each laboratory would extract (if 
applicable) and analyze at least one LFB per week at a concentration 
equal to or less than \1/2\ of the MCL in any week during which 
drinking water compliance samples are either (1) analyzed directly 
without the use of an extraction step; or (2) extracted for future 
analysis.
    (ii) For polychlorinated biphenyls, the LFBs would be analyzed 
using an approved PCB screening method under paragraph V. of this 
document. The

[[Page 36126]]

conversion table below would be used to determine if a laboratory can 
detect Aroclors at \1/2\ of the MCL.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                    Aroclor in    Conversion  Decachlorobiphenyl
                             Aroclor                                   mg/L         factor          in mg/L     
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1016.............................................................      0.00013          1.92          0.00025   
1221.............................................................      0.000095         2.63          0.00025   
1232.............................................................      0.000115         2.17          0.00025   
1242.............................................................      0.00013          1.92          0.00025   
1248.............................................................      0.00015          1.67          0.00025   
1254.............................................................      0.000165         1.52          0.00025   
1260.............................................................      0.00018          1.39          0.00025   
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (iii) In any week during which a laboratory is using method 508A to 
analyze drinking water compliance samples, it would extract and analyze 
at least one LFB at a concentration equal to or less than \1/2\ MCL 
using that method.
    B. MDL LFBs--Each laboratory would extract, if applicable, and 
analyze at least one LFB per month during any month in which drinking 
water compliance samples are either (1) analyzed directly without the 
use of an extraction step; or (2) extracted for future analysis. In 
either case, the laboratory would spike each LFB at the same level as 
that used to calculate the method detection limit in the initial 
demonstration of capability.]
    C. Each laboratory would reliably achieve the accuracy and 
precision parameters, if any are specified by the State under paragraph 
A above, and the detection sensitivity, if any are specified by the 
State under paragraph B, in the analyses of these LFBs.
    III. Approved Analytical Methods, PE Samples and Acceptance Limits: 
All samples used to determine compliance with the maximum contaminant 
levels under Secs. 141.11(b), 141.61(a), 141.61(c) and 141.62(b) (1) 
through (6) and 141.62 (10) through (15) would be analyzed in 
accordance with the methods, preservation techniques and holding times 
specified under paragraph V. Approved Analytical Methods and Acceptance 
Limits Under Chemical Monitoring Reform, of this document and in the 
method descriptions.
    A. [At a minimum, each laboratory must successfully analyze 
Performance Evaluation (PE) samples every year as provided by EPA, the 
State, or other parties that have been approved by the State or EPA.] 
This series of PE samples must be tested for the contaminants, and 
achieve the quantitative acceptance limits, under paragraph V. of this 
document
    B. Each laboratory must achieve the quantitative acceptance limits 
under paragraph V. of this document for at least 80 percent of the 
regulated organics listed in Sec. 141.61(a)(2) through (a)(21).
    IV. Recording Results of Sampling Analyses and Laboratory Quality 
Assurance Analyses:
    A. Each laboratory would report the results of all sample analyses, 
including all detections, in the manner and format specified by the 
State. For the purposes of 40CFR141.23 only, ``detection'' means any 
value observed in a drinking water sample that is equal to or greater 
than the MDL as determined by the procedures in 40CFR136, Appendix B, 
by paragraphs I and II. of this criteria document, and by criteria 
established by the State.
    B. [Each laboratory would report the results of analyzing the 
Performance Evaluation (PE) Samples under paragraph III. to the State, 
at a minimum frequency of once each year.
    C. Each laboratory would maintain a record of each MDL analysis and 
calculation under paragraph I, in the format specified by the State, 
until the next State laboratory certification audit report has been 
completed, or for five years, whichever period is longer.
    D. Each laboratory would maintain a record of each LFB analysis 
conducted under paragraph II., in the format specified below, until the 
next State laboratory certification audit report has been completed, or 
for five years, whichever period is longer.
    E. The records under Paragraphs C. and D. (above) would be provided 
to the State upon request, in the manner and format specified by the 
State.]

Record of Analyzing Laboratory Fortified Blanks

    Purpose of LFB (check one):
{time} Weekly Trigger Level Check
{time} Monthly MDL Level Check

    Units of Measure (check one):
{time} Milligrams per Liter (mg/l)
{time} Micrograms per Liter (g/l)

Laboratory Name and Address

----------------------------------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Lab Identification Number:---------------------------------------------

Contact Person:--------------------------------------------------------
Phone : (    )    -        --------------------------------------------

Method Identification :------------------------------------------------

    Description of deviations from published method, if any (e.g., 
columns, detectors, etc). Use reference to laboratory SOP or other 
QA documentation when appropriate.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------------------------------


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
       Date                          Analyte                    Fortified concentration   Measured concentration
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     .........................................    .....................                         
                     .........................................    .....................                         
                     .........................................    .....................                         
                     .........................................    .....................                         
                     .........................................    .....................                         
                     .........................................    .....................                         
                     .........................................    .....................                         
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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    For the reasons set out in the preamble, Chapter I of Title 40 of 
the Code of Federal Regulations is proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 141--[AMENDED]

    1. The authority for Part 141 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 42 U.S.C. 300f, 300g-1, 300g-2, 300g-3, 300g-4, 300g-
5, 300g-6, 300j-4, and 300j-9.

    2. Section 141.2 is amended by adding the following definitions in 
alphabetical order.


Sec. 141.2  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Periods of greatest vulnerability means the periods during which 
contamination is most likely to occur at the highest concentration at a 
particular sampling point, based on the history of relevant factors for 
that sampling point e.g., Weather Bureau precipitation averages, local 
pesticide application practices.
* * * * *
    Time balanced average means the average of values representing 
equal segments of time, which are themselves the average of individual 
data points within each segment of time. For example, the sampling 
results throughout each quarter would be divided among the months of 
the quarter and the individual sampling results within each month would 
be averaged to determine the value for that month. The quarterly value 
would be the average of the three monthly values.
* * * * *
    3. Section 141.23 is revised to read as follows:


Sec. 141.23  General monitoring provisions.

    (a) General: Each community water system (CWS) and each non-
transient, non-community water system (NTNCWS)--hereafter ``system'' in 
Secs. 141.23 and 142.16(e)--shall monitor the contaminants under 
Secs. 141.11(b), 141.61(a), 141.61(c), 141.62(b) (1) through (6) and 
141.62(b) (10) through (15) in accordance with the requirements of this 
section. Failure to sample, or to report to or notify the State, in 
accordance with this section, or as directed by the State under this 
section and Sec. 142.16(e), is a violation of the Safe Drinking Water 
Act.
    (b) Sampling Points:
    (1) Each system shall monitor, at each entry point to the 
distribution system, after treatment (if any).
    (2) Systems shall sample at any sampling points the State may 
designate in addition to the entry point to the distribution system.
    (c) Responsibility to Provide Information:
    (1) Each system shall report the results of all sampling conducted 
under this section to the State, including detections  the 
Method Detection Limit (MDL), in accordance with Sec. 141.31 and in the 
format prescribed by the State.
    (2) Each system shall provide any information requested by the 
State, within the time frame and in the format specified by the State. 
A failure to provide this information is sufficient reason for the 
State to require a system to sample more frequently than every five 
years.
    (d) Mandatory Monitoring:
    (1) Each system shall sample at least once every five years at each 
sampling point for the contaminants under Secs. 141.11(b), 141.61(a), 
141.61(c), 141.62(b) (1) through (6) and 141.62(b) (10) through (15). 
(2) If, for any reason, the State directs a system to sample more 
frequently than once every five years, the system shall sample at the 
frequency specified by the State.
    (3) Each system shall sample during the periods of greatest 
vulnerability designated by the State. If the State does not designate 
the periods of greatest vulnerability, the system shall determine the 
periods of greatest vulnerability, describe to the State the risk-based 
reasons for the periods it specified, and sample at those times.
    (4) If any of the following VOCs are detected at 0.5 
g/l at any sampling point, the system shall monitor for vinyl 
chloride at that sampling point within 30 days: trichloroethylene; 
tetrachloroethylene; 1,2-dichloroethane; 1,1,1-trichloroethane; cis-
1,2-dichloroethylene; trans-1,2-dichloroethylene; or 1,1-
dichloroethyhlene.
    (e) Detection \1/2\ of the MCL: If a contaminant is 
detected \1/2\ of the MCL, including detections >MCL, the 
system shall sample as scheduled by the State under Sec. 142.16(e)(3).
    (f) Detection >MCL: If the results of a sample exceed the MCL, in 
concert with the requirements of paragraph (e), the system shall sample 
during each of the following three quarters. If the State schedules 
multiple samples during any quarter, a time balanced average must be 
used to determine the value for that quarter.
    (1) Once an MCL violation has been established for a contaminant 
under paragraph (g) of this section, the system shall sample every year 
for that contaminant during the period of greatest vulnerability, 
unless the State specifies a different sampling schedule.
    (2) If an MCL violation is not established upon completion of the 
monitoring required under this paragraph, the system shall continue 
sampling as directed by the State.
    (g) MCL Violations Determinations: A system is in violation of the 
MCL if :
    (1) The average of the four quarterly values exceed the MCL; or
    (2) Any quarterly value, or any combination of less than four 
quarterly values, would cause the average annual concentration to 
exceed the MCL.
    (h) Laboratory Certification Criteria:
    (1) All samples to determine compliance with the MCLs in 
Secs. 141.11(b), 141.61(a), 141.61(c), 141.62(b) (1) through (6) and 
141.62(b) (10) through (15) must be analyzed by laboratories certified 
by EPA, or by the State in accordance with, and meeting the 
requirements described in, EPA Technical Criteria Document for Selected 
Chemical Contaminants in Drinking Water.
    (2) The State or EPA may suspend or revoke a laboratory's 
certification for failure to consistently achieve the standards 
established under this paragraph.
    (i) New Systems & New Sources: All public water systems and sources 
of water supplying a public water system that begin operations after 
[insert publication date of the final rule], shall demonstrate 
compliance with all applicable MCLs in this part within a period of 
time specified by the State, unless the State waives testing for 
certain contaminants in accordance with paragraph (h) of this section. 
In a State where EPA has primary enforcement authority, a new system or 
new source must demonstrate full compliance with the MCLs in 
Secs. 141.11(b), 141.61(a), 141.61(c), 141.62(b) (1) through (6) and 
141.62(b) (10) through (15), within the period of time specified by the 
Regional Administrator.

PART 142--[AMENDED]

    4. The authority citation for Part 142 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 42 U.S.C. 300g-1, 300g-2, 300g-3, 300g-4, 300g-5, 
300g-6, 300j-4, and 300j-9.

* * * * *
    5. Section 142.14 is amended by revising the introductory text of 
paragraph (d) and paragraphs (d)(4) and (d)(5) to read as follows:


Sec. 142.14  Records kept by States.

* * * * *
    (d) Each State which has primary enforcement responsibility shall 
retain, for not less than 12 years, files which shall include for each 
public water system in each State:
* * * * *

[[Page 36135]]

    (4) A record of the most recent targeting and vulnerability 
determination for each sampling point, including the monitoring results 
and other data supporting the determination, the State's findings based 
on the supporting data and any additional bases for such determination; 
except that it shall be kept in perpetuity or until a more current 
vulnerability determination has been issued. These records shall 
include State decision:
    (i) Determinations related to targeting systems for increased 
sampling;
    (ii) Determinations involving sampling points that have exceeded 
the trigger level;
    (iii) Determinations related to the review of any such decisions 
that has been undertaken because of a change in the circumstances upon 
which the original decision was based.
    (5) A record of all current monitoring requirements and frequencies 
for each contaminant and each sampling point, including those based on 
the targeting and vulnerability determinations identified under 
paragraph (d)(4) of this section. These records shall be kept in 
perpetuity, or until a more recent monitoring frequency decision has 
been issued.
* * * * *
    6. Section 142.16(e) is revised to read as follows:


Sec. 142.16  Special primacy requirements.

* * * * *
    (e) Chemical Monitoring Reform.
    (1) Prior to implementing the provisions of 40 CFR 141.23, a State 
shall submit a primacy revision application that meets the requirements 
specified below. Approved State programs must operate in accordance 
with the provisions under Sec. 141.23 and paragraph (e)(3) of this 
section and the approved State Targeting Plan.
    (i) An application for approval of a State program revision to 
adopt the requirements under Sec. 141.23, must include the State 
regulations (or implementing provisions) adopting those requirements, a 
description of the State Targeting Plan under paragraph (e)(2) of this 
section and a certification from the Attorney General that each of the 
provisions in its primacy revision application, and in any supplements 
thereto, are enforceable under State law.
    (ii) The State's primacy revision application must also include a 
summary of public participation in the development of the State's 
program. At a minimum, the State process shall include an opportunity 
for public review of and comment upon the program elements identified 
above.

Alternative I for Paragraph (e)(2)

    (e)(2) Targeting Plans. The State shall identify, and prescribe a 
sampling schedule for, each sampling point within each community water 
system and within each non-transient, non-community water system that 
may be vulnerable to contamination during the next five years. The 
State shall transmit its list of these sampling points to the Regional 
Administrator within one year after EPA has approved its primacy 
revision application, and thereafter upon request of the Regional 
Administrator. The State shall also update its list of targeted 
sampling points annually, and shall make the list available to the 
public upon request.
    (i) The State shall develop a Targeting Plan describing:
    (A) The State's procedures under Sec. 141.23(d)(2) to screen all 
systems in order to identify vulnerable systems to sample more 
frequently than once every five years, and for determining the 
frequency of sampling based on the degree of vulnerability;
    (B) The factors the State will consider in determining the periods 
of greatest vulnerability; and
    (C) The State plans for periodically updating its list of targeted 
sampling points.
    (ii) At a minimum, the targeting plan shall specify that a sampling 
point may be targeted to sample more frequently than every five years 
based on any one or a combination of the following factors:
    (A) The fate and transport of a contaminant;
    (B) The agricultural, commercial or industrial activities in the 
source water review area; or
    (C) The susceptibility of the source water withdrawal point to 
contamination.
    (iii) At a minimum, the State's factors for scheduling systems to 
sample during the periods of greatest vulnerability shall include each 
of the factors listed in paragraph (e)(2)(ii) of this section.
    (iv) The State shall notify all systems of their sampling 
requirements in writing.

Alternative II for Paragraph (e)(2)

    (e)(2) Targeting Plans: The State shall identify and prescribe a 
sampling schedule for each sampling point within each community water 
system and within each non-transient, non-community water system that 
must sample more frequently than once every five years, based on each 
sampling point's vulnerability to contamination. The State shall 
transmit its list of these sampling points to the Regional 
Administrator within one year after EPA has approved its primacy 
revision application.
    (i) The State shall develop a plan describing
    (A) The State's procedures under Sec. 141.23(d)(2) to screen all 
systems in order to identify vulnerable systems to sample more 
frequently than once every five years and for determining the frequency 
of sampling based on the degree of vulnerability,
    (B) The factors the State will consider in determining the periods 
of greatest vulnerability, and
    (C) The State plans for periodically updating its list of targeted 
sampling points.
    (ii) The State plan shall specifically target those sampling points 
served by surface water, or by ground water under the direct influence 
of surface water, to sample more frequently than every five years as 
specified by the State, unless (or until) the State determines that 
those points do not need to sample more frequently than every five 
years based on the degree of their vulnerability, or on the risk that 
such levels may pose to public health.
    (iii) At a minimum, the targeting plan shall specify that a 
sampling point may be targeted to sample more frequently than every 
five years based on any one or a combination of the following factors:
    (A) The fate and transport of a contaminant;
    (B) The agricultural, commercial or industrial activities in the 
source water review area; or
    (C) The susceptibility of the source water withdrawal point to 
contamination.
    (iv) At a minimum, the State's factors for scheduling systems to 
sample during the periods of greatest vulnerability shall include each 
of the factors listed in paragraph (e)(2)(iii) of this section.
    (v) The State shall notify all systems of their sampling 
requirements in writing.
    (e)(3) Detection  \1/2\ of the MCL: Whenever the 
sampling result for a contaminant is  \1/2\ MCL, the State 
shall require the system to sample according to a special monitoring 
schedule, that has been designed to account for the estimated frequency 
and amplitude of contaminant fluctuation.
    (i) In establishing a special monitoring schedule for a sampling 
point under this paragraph and Sec. 141.23(e), the State shall 
consider:
    (A) The history of sampling results for the sampling point and for 
neighboring sampling points;

[[Page 36136]]

    (B) The sources of contamination and the susceptibility of the 
water supply to contamination;
    (C) The periods of greatest vulnerability;
    (D) The contaminant's solubility and other relevant 
characteristics; and
    (E) The agricultural and commercial practices, and the efficacy of 
any source water protection measures that have been enacted, within the 
source water review area.
    (ii) A State may determine that detections  \1/2\ of the 
MCL, but less than the MCL, will remain reliably and consistently below 
the MCL for five years, and may allow the system to sample at a minimum 
of once every five years.
    (iii) The State shall document each sampling schedule, or the basis 
of its determination that the contaminant will remain reliably and 
consistently below the MCL, in writing.
* * * * *
    7. Section 142.18 is revised to read as follows:


Sec. 142.18  EPA Review of State Determinations.

    (a) A Regional Administrator may:
    (1) Annul a State decision to grant a waiver, to designate a 
surrogate sampling point or to reduce nitrate monitoring under the 
Permanent Monitoring Relief provisions of section 1418 of the Safe 
Drinking Water Act; or
    (2) Make a determination in the absence of State action under 
Secs. 141.23(c) through (g)--in accordance with paragraph (b) of this 
section.
    (b) When information available to a Regional Administrator, such as 
the results of an annual review, indicate that either a State 
monitoring determination, or the absence of a State monitoring 
determination, fails to apply the standards of the approved State 
program or of the guidelines published under section 1418(b)(2) of the 
Safe Drinking Water Act as amended, he may propose to annul the State 
monitoring determination or initiate an EPA monitoring determination by 
sending the State and the affected PWS a draft Monitoring Order. The 
draft Monitoring Order shall:
    (1) Identify the PWS, the State determination and the provisions at 
issue;
    (2) Explain why the State determination, or absence thereof, is not 
in compliance with the State program and must be changed; and
    (3) Describe the actions and terms of operation the PWS will be 
required to implement.
    (c) The State and PWS shall have 60 days to comment on the draft 
Monitoring Order.
    (d) The Regional Administrator may not issue a Monitoring Order to 
impose conditions less stringent than those imposed by the State.
    (e) The Regional Administrator shall also provide an opportunity 
for comment upon the draft Monitoring Order, by
    (1) Publishing a notice in a newspaper in general circulation in 
the communities served by the affected system; and
    (2) Providing 30 days for public comment on the draft order.
    (f) The State shall demonstrate that its determination is 
reasonable, based on its approved program.
    (g) The Regional Administrator shall decide within 120 days after 
issuance of the draft Monitoring Order to:
    (1) Issue the Monitoring Order as drafted;
    (2) Issue a modified Monitoring Order; or
    (3) Cancel the Monitoring Order.
    (h) The Regional Administrator shall set forth the reasons for his 
decision, including a responsiveness summary addressing significant 
comments from the State, the PWS and the public.
    (i) The Regional Administrator shall send a notice of his final 
decision to the State, the PWS and all parties who commented upon the 
draft Monitoring Order.
    (j) The Monitoring Order shall remain in effect until canceled by 
the Regional Administrator. The Regional Administrator may cancel a 
Monitoring Order at any time, so long as he notifies those who 
commented on the draft order.
    (k) The Regional Administrator may not delegate the signature 
authority for a final Monitoring Order or the cancellation of an order.
    (l) Violation of the actions, or terms of operation, required by a 
Monitoring Order is a violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

[FR Doc. 97-17210 Filed 7-2-97; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P