Efiwonmsrital Protsction
                                                                                Issue 6
                                                                    Cory Wagner, Editor
                                                                          ORISE Fellow
                                                                Technical Support Center
                                                                             April 2003
Remember, April showers bring May
flowers in addition to the UCMR
vulnerable period.
      The "Light at the End
        of the Tunnel" Issue
 UMCR Update Issue Number 6- This information sheet, The UCMR Update, is the sixth 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: March is gone but not forgotten, as I am still thawing from the icy
 weather here in Ohio. By June, I might actually feel warm again. However, here is a
 thought that will add warmth to anyone. With the changing of the calendar year, there is
 now a light at the end of the tunnel.  The cynical among you might say it's a train, but I
 digress. In any case, 2003 is the FINAL year of monitoring for the current cycle of
 UCMR!  That's right, F-I-N-A-L. Look at how far we have come in the past three years.
 We are in the home stretch now and it should be easy sailing from here on out.
       As an aside, I have to give out a coveted "UCMR Update Lifetime Achievement
 Award" to... .me!  You probably have not noticed, but with this issue, I have gone where
 no previous UCMR Update editor has gone. I have served as editor of the Update for
 three, count them, consecutive issues. The previous record, held by Jim Walasek, was
 two. Having boldly crossed the three-issue barrier, I now seek to go on and publish four,
 maybe even five, more of these newsletters. That is of course, unless they decide to haul
 me out of here kicking and screaming first. Now, on with the info.

 I.  Final Year of Monitoring: Facts, Figures, and Statistics
       As it is officially the "Final Year of Sampling" in this cycle of the UCMR, TSC
 thought it would be interesting to see where we all are in this process thus far.  To those
 of you who are into number crunching, feast on this. As for me, I detest simply posting
 stats, but here is where we stand as of right now:

•   Screening Survey for Small System List 2 Chemical: 100% Complete!!!
•   Screening Survey for Large System List 2 Chemical: 42.8% Complete (77 of 180)
•   Assessment Monitoring for Small Systems: 65.3% Complete (522 out of 800).
•   Assessment Monitoring for Large Systems: 1378 (and counting) systems
    have reported data to the Safe Drinking Water Accession and Review System.

       TSC is exceedingly pleased with the participation thus far.  Keep it up! Please
note that this is the LAST YEAR for PWSs to conduct their List 1 assessment
monitoring responsibilities. This was the subject of the previous, and now infamous,
reminder letter that sent in November 2002. The Magic 8-Ball® on my desk indicates that
there could be another reminder letter or calls at some point in the future with the
message "Outcome Likely".  However, this same oracle has told me on numerous
occasions that my lottery numbers were going to hit, and I haven't seen a penny yet.
Please remember that this letter or call, should it come, will only serve as a reminder of
UCMR sampling duties to those that have yet to report List 1 Assessment Monitoring
data to SOWARS.

II. The  First  Semi-biannual "UCMR Golden Faucet"  Award
       The Golden Faucet Award, or simply the Fancy, was established last week when
we here at TSC realized that we needed an instrument with which to reward those who
went above and beyond in performing duties related to the UCMR. The award was
established to honor "individuals, groups, PWSs, laboratories, States, and/or EPA
Regions who exhibit extraordinary efforts supporting the implementation of the
Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Regulation". This issue's Fancy goes to Robert
Poon of EPA Region 2 for his tireless efforts in following up with PWSs in the region
that had not yet reported any data to SDWARS.  Many of these systems had had
difficulty in working with SDWARS and Robert was able to effectively help them
resolve these issues.  It is effort like this that helps everyone accomplish his or her
respective responsibilities within the UCMR.  We here at TSC appreciate Robert's hard
work, as it is often impossible for us to follow up with each and every system
participating in the UCMR.
       For his efforts, Robert would have received an actual golden faucet. However,
security is watching the bathroom way too closely and I have no gold paint. As a
compromise, he will  be receiving an official commemorative certificate from TSC.  In all
seriousness, we here  at TSC do like to acknowledge hard work in support of the UCMR.
It makes the whole process go more smoothly. Anyone who would like to nominate a
recipient for the Fancy award should feel free to contact me at

       As it is the final year of this cycle of UCMR, TSC would like to gather some
information and opinions about how this cycle of UCMR has gone for everyone who has
been involved. This  is your chance to tell us what you liked, disliked, and felt could be
improved about all aspects of the UCMR implementation.  Liked SDWARS but felt the
Aeromonas reporting system was a pain in the donkey? Let us know! Were the
instructions, technical assistance, and FAQs helpful or did they make you want to pull out
your hair?  Tell us about it!  You are all very valuable stakeholders in this process and in

the development of the next cycle of the UCMR. We will attempt to post some of the
most insightful comments and give an overall consensus of the opinions in the next
UCMR Update. Please use the form at the end of the Update to submit your comments.

       Yes, there are some! Actually, there are quite a lot. A new batch of data has been
posted for public viewing at EPA
is posting data on a quarterly basis. Now, you may go to the website and say "Hey,
where's my data? I reported it, why isn't it here?" An excellent question, I must say.
The answer is that it was likely held back by our data QC review system. Why? Well,
there are several reasons data may be held for review.

   Duplication. If a sample ID is duplicated at different facilities within a PWS or if a
   record is entered twice, the data are  held back. Believe me, once is plenty for EPA.
-  Accuracy results below 2%.
   Perchlorate results reported from a laboratory that is  not approved by EPA.  Please
   make sure your lab is APPROVED to test for Perchlorate.
-  Reporting List 2 data to SDWARS using methods from List 1 or reporting List 2 data
   when a PWS was not assigned to monitor for List 2 contaminants.  TSC does
   appreciate the extra mile, but we certainly don't want anyone to be sampling anything
   they aren't required to.
-  Extraction/analysis date before sample collection date.  Unless you can prove
   possession of a time machine, I don't think this is possible.
   Sample point delineation issues. In  SDWARS, sample points associated with List 1
   and List 2 Chemical monitoring should only be designated as  either entry point (EP)
   or source water (SR). TSC is aware  that SDWARS includes other options, but they
   aren't valid for List 1 or 2 chemical  monitoring. Please do not select them.  Midpoint
   (MD), Lowest Disinfectant Residual (LD), and Maximum Residence (MR) were
   developed for Aeromonas sampling  (which is not being reported via SDWARS).
   Unknown (UK) should not be used,  as TSC will have to call you later and find out if
   the sample point is a  SR or EP. Furthermore, laboratories should only assign sample
   analysis type "raw field sample (rfs)" or "raw duplicate sample (rds)" to SR sample
   points.  In contrast, sample analysis  type "treated field sample (tfs)" or "treated
   duplicate sample (tds)" should only  be assigned to EP sample point types, with the
   exception of a system that uses no water treatment.

   If your data are not posted, please review them and see if they fall under one of the
above categories.  Also, please keep the above rules in mind when posting data in the

V. Aeromonas Updates
       As stated in past issues, the following section will only apply to those systems
selected to participate in  the List 2 Screening Survey for the microbiological contaminant

-  The first set of data sheets from the PWSs that sampled in January have begun to
   come in. For those of you that have sent them in already, great job!  We look forward
   to receiving the data sheets from the rest of the water systems soon.  Anyone who has
   questions about the reporting system can send an email to CI
-  Recently, the question has been raised as to whether a system that is supposed to
   sample in a given month is required to submit data in that month as well. The answer
   is no. TSC requests that you send your data sheets in as soon as you can but it is not
   required that it be the same month as you sampled. A general rule of thumb would be
   to try to submit your data sheet within the month after you sampled.
   One thing that TSC has noticed on the data sheets is that some of you have not filled
   in the approval date and method fields.  The approval date is the date that you review
   the results from the lab and decide that they are fit for submittal to EPA. The method
   is simply the method used to obtain the water quality parameters. Please fill these in,
   as they will save EPA and you a phone call in the future.
   TSC would also like to request that you use the data sheets that were sent to you for
   the month in which you were supposed to sample. Please do not make your own
   sheet, or adapt a template that you may have come across via your Aeromonas
   Laboratory.  If you do not have your sheets, TSC will  be happy to resend them.  The
   reason for this is that the sheets are coded  for consistency with database that we are
   using to upload the data you send us. If the sheet is incorrectly coded, it is like trying
   to pass a square peg through a round hole. It just doesn't work.
   The list of approved Aeromonas laboratories has been expanded since the last UCMR
   Update was released. If you are still trying to find a laboratory to handle your
   Aeromonas analyses, be sure to follow the link at the end of this paragraph for the
   options. Remember that the lab that you use for Aeromonas analyses must be
   approved by EPA.  The link for the list is

VI. Coming Attractions

       It came upon them in the fall of 1999, innocently enough. It looked to be an easy
regulatory action. After three years of sampling, reporting, reviewing and barely
clinging to sanity, they thought it was over.  The survivors believed nothing like it could
ever happen again.  They were wrong.

                    UCMR CYCLE 2: The Next Batch
                     Coming to a PWS  near you in 2006

       While it reads like a B-horror movie trailer, the reality is that the UCMR is on a
five-year cycle.  So as this cycle concludes, a new one begins to take shape. It's almost
enough to keep you up at night, I know. However, the UCMR plays a crucial role in the
protection of public health,  a common goal of water  systems, states, and the EPA. This
new UCMR will require additional regulatory action to promulgate a different
contaminant list and other specific requirements. We will keep all  interested parties

informed about developments through the normal Federal Register publications, web
postings, and most certainly the continued publication of the UCMR Update. Stay tuned.

VII. Contact Information:
      A general reminder to laboratories and PWSs: when contacting EPA about
UCMR issues, please use you 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

                             UCMR Forum Form


PWSID#(or USEPA Lab ID#):	

PWS (or LAB) Name:	

UCMR Likes
UCMR Dislikes
May we publish your comments? 	Yes  	No

Mail to Cory Wagner, c/o U.S. EPA, 26 W. M.L. King Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45268

Office of Water, Cincinnati, OH 45268, EPA-815-N-03-002a, April 2003