Recently the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report that announced revisions to the 1989 Total Coliform Rule, a primary drinking water regulation (NPDWR). The executive summary states the following:
“The Environmental Protection Agency is finalizing revisions to the 1989 Total Coliform Rule (TCR). The Revised TCR offers an opportunity for greater public health protection beyond the 1989 TCR. Under the RTCR there is no longer a monthly maximum contaminant level (MCL) violation for multiple total coliform detections. Instead, the revision requires systems that have an indication of coliform contamination in the distribution system to assess the problem and take corrective action that may reduce cases of illness and death due to potential fecal contamination and waterborne pathogen exposure. This final rule also updates provisions in other rules that reference analytical methods and other requirements in the 1989 TCR (e.g., public notification and ground water rules). These revisions are in accordance with the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Amendments, which require EPA to review and revise, as appropriate, each national primary drinking water regulation no less often than every six years. These revisions also conform with the SDWA provision that requires any revision to “maintain, or provide for greater, protection of the health of persons.”
This revision also requires public water systems that are vulnerable to microbial contamination to identify and fix problems, and to prepare new sample site plans and seasonal systems to follow established “start-up” operation plans. The 1989 TCR will remain effective until March 31, 2016. Public water systems and primary agencies must comply with the requirements of the Revised Total Coliform Rule beginning April, 1, 2016. You can find copies of all of the revisions at the Total Coliform Rule Website at http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/rulesregs/sdwa/tcr/regulation.cfm . EPA will develop guidance manuals and fact sheets later this year to assist both water systems and states; Kentucky will begin the process of revising 401 KAR Chapter 8 once those manuals are final.