TSC hopes that you had a Happy
Thanksgiving and that your turkeys were
flavorful, your time with family was
enjoyable, and your couch was soft for the
after dinner nap.
                                         The UCMR  UPDATE
                  Issue 5
     Cory Wagner, Editor
           ORISE Fellow
Technical Support Center
         December 2002
                                         The Turkey, Stuffing, and
                                              "Humble" Pie Issue
UMCR Update Issue Number 5- This information sheet, The UCMR Update, is the fifth to be
issued by the Technical Support Center (TSC) of the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water
(OGWDW). Future issues will be distributed as needed to maintain information flow related to the
Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Regulation (UCMR for those of you who may have forgotten).

   Editor's Note: As you all know, the past month featured the Thanksgiving holiday.
Before we rush head on into the end-of-year holidays, EPA would like to reflect on the
holiday that just occurred. In addition to eating turkey, watching football, and falling
asleep on the couch, this holiday is a time to give thanks for the people that have played
important roles in one's life. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, EPA would like to offer
thanks to all the water systems, laboratories, state employees, and contractors who have
played an integral role in the implementation of the UCMR. This is truly a co-operative
effort and a large undertaking that could not be accomplished without the help of all the
dedicated people out there. EPA has enjoyed working with all of you thus far and hopes
to continue that excellent co-operation as we head into the homestretch of this UCMR
cycle. Again, thank you all. Now, the fun. This issue features information on the

       1.  The EPA Reminder Letter for List 1 monitoring requirements
       2.  SDWARS quirks and contact information
       3.  The Aeromonas Reporting Approach

I. The Great Reminder Letter Misunderstanding of 2002
   During late September/early October, many PWSs received letters from EPA
reminding them of their Assessment Monitoring (List 1) requirements under the UCMR.
These letters were sent to all systems that did not appear to have reported any data to the
Safe Drinking Water Accession and Review System (SDWARS), as of September 6th.
This letter seems to have inspired more anger, fear, and  confusion than any event since
Orson Welles read  War of the Worlds over the radio.  As in the Welles instance, the
reality of this situation was very much misinterpreted. This was only a REMINDER
letter. It was not a VIOLATION letter. No one has been fined and no one is going to jail
(except for maybe me if I don't pay that parking ticket). It was meant to prevent any
PWSs from being out of compliance at the end of 2003 by reminding them that they had
yet to submit any data to SDWARS. EPA apologizes to anyone who misunderstood the

intent of the letter.  As a rule, EPA would much rather help people be in compliance with
regulations than pursue them with fines and other punishments.
   Now, I know some of you are out there may be saying "(Fill in a suitable swear word
here), I sent my sample to the lab and they've already posted the results for me!"
While it may be true that your lab has posted your results, they cannot officially report
UCMR data, unless they are designated as a PWS representative.  EPA wants to remind
you that the PWS must review and approve data posted by a lab, unless written consent
has been given to the lab to officially act on behalf of the PWS and approve data.  This
requires a PWS sponsor letter, signed by the PWS official representative, specifying an
individual lab by their Central Data Exchange (CDX) User ID. as the approving official
for the PWS.  EPA cannot use any data in SDWARS until it has been approved by the
   In closing then, EPA apologizes for any confusion and looks forward to continuing the
strong co-operative working relationship that has thus far been displayed throughout this
UCMR cycle.

   Some PWSs have complained that their data have seemed to vanish, simply
disappearing from SDWARS faster than the retirement savings in my IRA. Don't worry!
While not lost, the data can disappear from a PWS's view after a  period of time. This
occurs when a state enters SDWARS and marks the data received. I know that some
PWSs have expressed concerns that when they go to look for old  data that they know  had
been posted and approved, it is no longer visible. If you have record of previously
approving results, you can rest assured that the data have been stored in the database.
You may wonder, "Why was this system set up this way?" SDWARS was developed  as a
temporary reporting system used to "access and review" monitoring results, not to
permanently store all the information. These data will be  stored as a separate, final
database set and will be publicly accessible through the Internet. In addition, concerns
over the volume of data some users would continually "view" when conducting a search
prompted EPA to establish this type of system.  However, to document your approval of
these data, EPA recommends that you  print your results, using your browser print
function, after you have designated them as "approved".  To do this, repeat the same
search used to generate the data table that included results with a  status of "PWS Hold"
which have just been approved, and print that table. You will notice immediately  after
you have approved data and repeat the search, you no longer have access to the "Status"
field, since they are now approved for  final submission to EPA and the State, but you can
still view these results. Print this and keep this with your official  compliance records  for
UCMR. Following EPA and State review, these results will be posted publicly on  the
Web at: www.epa.gov/safewater/data/ucmrgetdata.html.

Who you Gonna Call?
   If there's something wrong... with CDX or SDWARS.  Who ya gonna call?
Ghostbusters? Well, maybe that's not such a bad idea, with data disappearing like
Slimer through a wall. All SDWARS related questions should be directed to the
SDWARS Help Desk (1-888-890-1995). If the Help Desk is not able to address all your

concerns, please contact the Infrastructure Branch (IB), the group responsible for
SDWARS oversight.  The contact person is Roger Howard at (202) 564-9907.

III. Aeromonas Systems
   The following section applies only to those systems that have been selected to
participate in List 2b-Aeromonas monitoring.  The rest of you may skip to Section 4,
unless you really can't get enough of the Update. In that case, read on!

Aeromonas Rule(s)!!
    The long awaited Aeromonas Rule has been signed and published. It is now available
and should keep the appetite sated of those who waited in anticipation for a new piece of
environmental legislation to chew on. The EPA Administrator signed the rule on October
18, 2002. This news may elicit yawns from some, but trust me, this is BIG! First of all,
it means that EPA Method 1605 has been officially approved for the measurement of
Aeromonas.  It also kicks off the beginning of a final Aeromonas Proficiency
Test (PT) study. As you may recall from the last issue, any laboratory that wants to
participate in the analysis of Aeromonas samples for the UCMR must pass  an EPA PT for
Method 1605 (http://www.epa.gov/safewater/standard/ucmr/aeromonas_pt.htmX
Remember, only large PWSs selected for Aeromonas monitoring are required to establish
analytical contract support for this monitoring from  an EPA approved Aeromonas
laboratory.  If your system is depending on a regularly contracted laboratory to pass this
last PT, please be aware that approximately 50% of labs have failed on their first attempt
to pass a PT study. As there will be no further PT's administered after December 2002
we suggest that you have a backup plan in the event that the lab that you intend to
contract with does not pass. A list of laboratories that have already been approved for
Aeromonas testing under the UCMR is available on the Web at
Aeromonas Reporting Approach
Large Systems
    On November 1st, EPA sent out data collection sheets to all large PWSs that are
required to sample for Aeromonas.  These arrived in the form of e-mails to those systems
for which EPA has an e-mail address, and by U.S. mail to those systems that have not
established an e-mail address with EPA. Please note that you WILL NOT be reporting
Aeromonas results electronically via SDWARS. The system was not designed to handle
Aeromonas data. Besides, we didn't want to infect SDWARS with "bugs" anyway.
   The e-mail (and U.S. mail for that matter) that PWSs received should contain 9
attachments: An Aeromonas reporting standard operating procedure (SOP), a reporting
Technical Assistance (TA), an Aeromonas Fact Sheet, and six Microsoft Excel™
spreadsheets corresponding to each month in which the PWS is scheduled to sample.
Please make sure that you received the correct data reporting sheets for your PWS. If
you have not responded to EPA that you have received the e-mail, please do so as we are
tracking the responses to make sure that all sheets were received.

   Now for a few notes on how this system is going to work.  First of all, in the month
prior to your scheduled sampling month, you should receive an e-mail (or letter)
reminding you that you are approaching your month to sample for Aeromonas. It will
also contain the data collection sheet for that month (in case you lost it, your computer
crashed, a dog ate it, or you used it to line the bottom of the bird cage). You will then
sample at the three locations that you designated as the midpoint, lowest disinfectant
residual, and maximum residence time points in your distribution system. Please note
that all water quality parameter measurements (temperature, pH, free chlorine and total
chlorine) must be made in the field, with the single exception of turbidity.  Turbidity can
be measured in the field or in the lab, within 48 hours  of collection. All measurements
must be taken by using approved methods as per the SOP and TA sheet. You will then
fill out the relevant portion of the spreadsheet.
   The samples will then be sent to an EPA-approved Aeromonas lab along with the data
collection  sheet. The samples must remain cold (1° C to 10° C) and need to be sent
overnight to the laboratory. Any collected sample must be processed using EPA Method
1605 within 30 hours of the collection time. The lab will test the samples for Aeromonas,
fill out the relevant portion of the data sheet, and send it back to the PWS for review,
approval and final submission to EPA.  The next sampling month, you should receive
another e-mail (or letter) and the process will repeat itself.
   Any system that is currently receiving regular mail notices and would like to receive
e-mail notices  can contact Cory Wagner at (513) 569-7932.

smaii  Systems
   It's a slightly different ball game for you guys.  EPA has contracted with the Great
Lakes Environmental Center (GLEC) to assist you with the Aeromonas sampling efforts.
EPA has also contracted labs that will be performing the analysis for you and reporting
the results to EPA.
   In  December 2002, a step-by-step video of the sampling process will be sent to small
PWSs. (I'll bet you can't wait to throw some popcorn in the microwave for that one!
What's better than chestnuts roasting on the open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose,
and a good old-fashioned sampling video?)  Then, in the first month in which you are to
sample, you will receive a kit from GLEC with instructions to assist you.  This will
include sample bottles, U-TEK™ freeze packs and a comprehensive water quality
monitoring tool kit (including a nifty hand-held colorimeter to measure free and total
chlorine, a pH probe,  and a thermometer), a cooler to transport the packs and samples,
completed FedEx airbills to the laboratory and sampling instructions. The cooler and
water quality parameter kit are yours for the duration of the Aeromonas sampling. Please
don't lose  it or break them. At the  end of the sampling period, EPA will be asking for
you to return the cooler and kit. (The video is yours to keep in the event that you become
nostalgic for the old UCMR Cycle  1 days. Good times, good times.)
   The video and instructions will help  you to sample and collect the water quality
parameters.  Should you still have concerns, GLEC can provide on-site support for the
first sample month to assist you. This on-site support is a one-time deal though. The
next sample month, you will receive a sample kit only, and be expected to proceed from
there. Piece of cake!

States, Regions, and Laboratories Participating in Aeromonas
   The participating states, EPA regional offices, and Aeromonas laboratories should also
have received an e-mail or a letter containing the SOP, the TA, and a sample data
collection sheet that represents what the water systems received.  This was done to assist
those states that are sampling for their affected water systems and to keep all parties in
the loop. Any assistance you can provide the water systems, especially the small
systems, will be much appreciated.

IV. Important Dates
January 1,2003:
      - Beginning of the final year of Assessment Monitoring under the current UCMR
      - First sample month for Option 1 Large and Small Aeromonas systems.
Feburary 1,2003:
      - First sample month for Option 2 Large and Small Aeromonas systems.
March 1,2003:
         First sample month for Option 3 Large and Small Aeromonas systems.

V. Contact  Information:
      A general reminder to laboratories and PWSs: when contacting EPA about
UCMR issues, please use your USEPA Lab ID number or PWSID number, respectively.

     General UCMR questions may be directed to the Drinking Water Hotline at:


  Questions regarding registration for or use of the SDWARS/UCMR reporting system
                  may be directed to the SDWARS Help Desk at:


                   Correspondence with TSC may be directed to:

                                UCMR Coordinator
                          Technical Support Center (MS-140)
                         U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
                           26 W. Martin Luther King Drive
                               Cincinnati, OH 45268
                                Fax: 513-569-7191

    I* ted Statw
    EfirtoimiMtal ProtectiM
Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water
Cincinnati, OH 45268
December 2002
Official business
Penalty for Private Use
   PERMIT NO. G-35