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15

The importance of UCMR 4 testing

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Testing begins for the Fourth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 4) next month. Do you know what UCMR is and what is being tested for?

The Safe Drinking Water Act or SDWA, (which just celebrated its 43rd anniversary!), is a law that protects our drinking water supplies throughout the country, which also protects us when we drink and use that water. There are many parts to the SDWA, and one is the requirement to regulate contaminants and contaminants levels in our water. But before regulations can happen, testing must first take place. That’s where UMCR comes in.

Under UCMR, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues a new list of up to 30 unregulated contaminants to public water systems to test for. This happens once every five years. Testing for these contaminants helps EPA decide what contaminants may need to be regulated in the future, and at what levels they may need to be regulated at. Testing also helps reveal what parts of the country these contaminants may be found, and at what levels.

We are about to start UMCR 4, which will happen between January 2018 and December 2020.

In this round of testing, EPA is requiring public water systems to test for 30 contaminants: 10 cyanotoxin chemical contaminants, 2 metals, 3 brominated haloacetic acid groups, 8 pesticides and 1 pesticide manufacturing byproduct, 3 alcohols, and 3 other semivolatile chemicals. 

We have more information on these contaminants, which are a part of UCMR 4 testing: Anatoxin-a, Cylindrospermopsin, Haloacetic Acids, Manganese, Microcystins and Nodularin.

It’s likely that your local water provider is participating in UCMR 4, but contact them to find out for sure.

This process may seem overwhelming, but be assured that it’s in place to protect all of us so that we continue to get high quality tap water.

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