United States
Environmental Protection
Office of Water
August 1997
       These guidelines for alternative monitoring, formerly referred to as Permanent Monitoring
Relief (PMR), are being issued pursuant to section 1418(b) of the Safe Drinking Water Act
(SDWA), which requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue guidelines for
states to follow in proposing alternative monitoring requirements for chemical contaminants.
Congress recognized that as a state gains a better understanding of the contamination sources that
may affect the quality of a drinking water supply, the state would be in an appropriate position to
tailor the monitoring requirements for the  system while continuing to provide effective public
health protection. The SDWA, therefore,  provides that a state may allow a system to implement
the alternative monitoring offered by these guidelines, if the state has an approved source water
assessment program, and has completed a source water assessment for that system.  The SDWA
further requires EPA to issue guidance for states to use in meeting these source water assessment
requirements, and directs EPA to issue the source water assessment guidance at the same time as
these alternative monitoring guidelines. Accordingly, the source water assessment guidance was
issued on August 6, 1997.

       On July 3, 1997, EPA published draft guidelines in the Federal Register [62 FR 36100] in
conjunction with an Advance Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ANPRM) for revising the federal
chemical monitoring requirements (then referred to as Chemical Monitoring Reform).  The draft
guidelines were included in that notice in order to consolidate all of the draft changes to the federal
provisions for chemical monitoring into a  single document.  These alternative monitoring
guidelines have been developed after considering timely public comments received on the draft

       EPA mentioned in the July 3 notice that regulations might be needed in order to implement
fully the alternative monitoring guidelines. Pursuant to the statute, alternative monitoring must
assure compliance with applicable national primary drinking water regulations.  To permit states to
implement monitoring provisions that differ from the current requirements, EPA plans to propose
alternative monitoring as regulations in conjunction with the proposal of the CMR regulations.
Until such time as the provisions for alternative monitoring have been promulgated as regulations,
these guidelines do not impose legally binding requirements on EPA, states or the regulated
community.  In compliance with the SDWA Amendments of 1996, they are intended to assist
states in developing source water assessment programs that will generate the information to enable
States to offer alternative monitoring to water systems in appropriate circumstances. EPA expects


to issue final regulations for CMR and alternative monitoring in a single regulation for monitoring
revision by August 6, 1998. This time frame for regulatory support of alternative monitoring
should not pose a hardship for the states or public water systems (PWSs).  It will take some time
for many states to comply with the statutory pre-requisites concerning source water protection for
granting alternative monitoring to its public water systems.

       Under Section 1418(b) of the SDWA, the alternative monitoring guidelines must ensure
that the public health will be protected from drinking water contamination, that a state program will
apply on a contaminant-by-contaminant basis and that a public water system must show the state
that the contaminant is not present in the drinking water supply or, if present, is reliably and
consistently below the maximum contaminant level. The guidelines must further require that if a
contaminant is detected at levels at or above the maximum contaminant level or is no longer
reliably or consistently below the maximum contaminant level, the  system must either demonstrate
that the contamination source has been removed or that other action has been taken to eliminate the
contamination or test for the detected contaminant according to the  applicable national primary
drinking water regulation.

       The SDWA further provides that the alternative monitoring shall not apply to regulated
microbiological contaminants (or indicators thereof), disinfectants and disinfection by-products, or
corrosion by-products. The guidelines apply to the chemicals listed in the  following table and to
nitrate, as described in the  sections below.

[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

[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]

[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-l,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
       After weighing the statutory requirements and considering public comment, EPA is
providing states the option of offering three forms of alternative monitoring: monitoring waivers,
surrogate sampling and reduced nitrate monitoring.  These forms are described in detail below.
For waivers and surrogate sampling, EPA considers 1/2 of the MCL the highest concentration at
which a contaminant may be judged to be reliably and consistently < MCL, especially considering
that five year renewable waivers could mean that the system would not be required to sample for a
10 year period or longer. For nitrate, EPA considers 2 mg/L as the threshold for determining that a
system is reliably and consistently < MCL. Although 2 mg/L is 20% of the MCL, it was selected
because nitrate has acute health effects and a greater safety factor is appropriate to provide
effective public health protection from drinking water contamination.

       A state with an approved source water assessment program may complete the source water
assessments for a specific contaminant and grant alternative monitoring for that contaminant, even
if the state has not yet completed assessments for the remaining contaminants.  Although the
SDWA specifies that the monitoring program apply on a contaminant by contaminant basis, states
are not precluded from conducting area-wide assessments covering many systems and may,
therefore, grant alternative monitoring to all the systems in the area-wide assessment consistent
with the results of the assessment.

       States are expected to incorporate the information gathered through the source water
assessments in making waiver decisions, in designating surrogate sampling points and in
conducting analyses to support reduced nitrate sampling.  States are also expected to review
changes to the conditions on which these forms of alternative monitoring are based before
renewing them. An update to the source water assessment may provide this information. States are,
therefore, encouraged to integrate the activities required for decisions related to alternative
monitoring and the very similar activities supporting the source water assessment program to make
them complementary.

       States may offer alternative monitoring under Sections A and B for the sixty-four (64)
contaminants listed in the table above, and under Section C for nitrate.


(1) State Findings Required for Waivers: A state may grant a waiver allowing a system to forgo
sampling during a five year monitoring period, if the state, at a minimum, makes one of the
following determinations:
(a)     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; or
(b)    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
       (Hi)    the treatment at the sampling point is properly operated and maintained, and is
              working reliably and effectively; and
       (iv)    the highest contaminant levels are < 1/2 MCL.

(2) General Considerations: In making waiver decisions the state should, 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
       (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

(3) System Responsibility: Each water system granted a sampling waiver under this paragraph
should 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 should 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

(6) Waivers for Cyanide: Before granting a waiver for cyanide, the state should determine whether
cyanide is present in the system's source water.



       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 should 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

       The state should also require the system to periodically 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.

(2) Inter-system Surrogate Sampling:  For designating surrogate sampling points among systems,
a state first needs to 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

(3) Validation Sampling: Whenever the sampling results at a surrogate point are > 1/2 of the
MCL, the state should require the systems to conduct validation sampling at each of the points


represented by that surrogate point. Surrogate sampling should be discontinued for that sampling
point, and for any sampling points that it represents, if the contaminant is >l/2 MCL.  The state
should 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

(4) System Responsibility: Each system should 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

(5) State Review of Surrogate Sampling Point Designations: The state should review its decision
to designate any surrogate sampling point, whenever it learns of a change in the circumstances
upon which the point was designated.


       States may reduce the nitrate monitoring frequency from annual to biennial for a sampling
point served exclusively by ground water.

(1) State Findings: States should allow this reduction in nitrate sampling only under the following
       (a) 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; and
       (b) Integrity of Structures & 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;
       (c) 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; and
       (d) 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 unlikely to exceed the 2
       mg/1 during the reduced sampling period.

(2) Effect of Detection > 2 mg/l: If nitrate is detected at > 2 mg/1, measured as N, the system
would return to an annual sampling frequency under the state requirements adopted pursuant to the
national primary drinking water regulations;  and

(3) System Responsibility & State Review:  Each system should notify the state within 30 days of
the time it learns of any change in the conditions under which the reduced sampling for nitrate has


been allowed, particularly of any change in land use practices.  The state will review its decision to
reduce the sampling frequency, whenever it learns of a change in the circumstances upon which its
decision was based.


(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.

(2) Monitoring period means the period during which water systems are required under
federal regulations to take at least one sample.

(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, the hydrogeologic features within the area, and particularly a specific contaminant's fate
and transport. 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 up stream 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
intm-sysiem 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.


       The Act specifies that state alternative monitoring provisions will be treated as  "applicable"
national primary  drinking water regulations, which means they must be enforceable under both
state and  Federal law1.  The Act defines an enforceable state requirement as a "state program


approved pursuant to this part2." In order to assure that the state alternative monitoring provisions
will be federally enforceable, EPA will review and approve the state program. Therefore, any
state adoption of alternative monitoring requirements must be at least as stringent as the federal
program and adhere to each of the following steps.

(1) State Program Description: The state will 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 should include the criteria under
Sections A - C (respectively) for each form of alternative monitoring 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 infra-system surrogate sampling
              points under Section B(l); 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 & Comment: The state should provide notice and opportunity for public comment on
the state program.

(3) Attorney General Certification:  The Attorney General needs to certify in writing that the
alternative state monitoring requirements were duly adopted under state law, are enforceable under
state law, and provide adequate authority to meet EPA's alternative monitoring guidelines.

(4) State source water assessment program: The state must obtain EPA approval  of its  source
water assessment program.

(5) EPA Review & Decision: Under section 1428(c)(l), a state's program submittal will  be
reviewed in conformance with 40 CFR 142.10-. 12.

(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.

(7) State Reporting: EPA will address state reporting requirements in the subsequent rulemaking
for Chemical Monitoring Reform, which will incorporate these guidelines.
        See §1414(i)(4).

                                                                 Date Signed: August 1997

Dear Colleague:

       I am pleased to transmit the guidelines for alternative monitoring (formerly known as
Permanent Monitoring Relief (PMR)), which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has
prepared pursuant to the requirements of Section 1418 of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SOWA),
as amended in August 1996. States have the discretion to decide whether or not to adopt these
guidelines. States that elect to offer alternative monitoring must meet the requirements of Section
1453 of the SDWA to develop and obtain EPA approval of their source water assessment
programs, and to complete a source water assessment for the systems that will use alternative
monitoring. Guidance for states to use in meeting the source water assessment requirements has
also been issued pursuant to Section 1453 of the SDWA.

       These alternative monitoring provisions were developed in conjunction with an effort to
revise the  chemical monitoring regulations, which has been known as Chemical Monitoring
Reform. EPA expects to promulgate revisions to the chemical monitoring regulations in August,
1998. EPA plans to incorporate these alternative monitoring guidelines into the chemical
monitoring regulations, in order to consolidate the federal provisions for chemical monitoring in a
single, comprehensive regulation.

       Before developing these provisions, EPA held three stakeholder meetings and then formed
an EPA/State work group to evaluate the issues  raised by the stakeholders. EPA issued these
guidelines in draft form on July 3, 1997, for public comment, and  held public meetings in Denver,
Chicago, and Washington D.C. to explain the provisions and solicit comments.  This document
reflects the results of that process with respect to the alternative monitoring guidelines.

       We appreciate the efforts of each stakeholder, and hope to continue using a collaborative
process in developing other federal policies and  guidelines. With the issuance of these guidelines,
the time for planning and action moves to the states.  We encourage states to work with their
regional offices in designing their source water assessment programs and strategies for adopting
and implementing these alternative monitoring provisions.


                                                              Robert Perciasepe
                                                              Assistant Administrator