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Water: Bioindicators

New Test Procedures for Analyzing Pollutants in Wastewater and Sewage Sludge

Extracted from Fact Sheet, EPA-821-F-16-010 (September 2006)

EPA is adding procedures for sampling and analysis in wastewater and sewage sludge. These revisions for analytical methods add choices to the set of EPA-approved methods for measuring pollutants. The newly-approved methods also reflect improvements in science and technology.


EPA approves sampling procedures and analytical methods that industrial and municipal facilities use to determine pollutants of wastewater. Facilities use these methods to demonstrate compliance with permits under the Clean Water Act (CWA).

EPA revises the list of approved methods periodically based on information from the Alternate Test Procedures approval process, from the public, from Voluntary Consensus Standards Bodies (VCSB), and from vendors. Revising the list of approved methods by adding additional methods and clarifying compliance sampling procedures gives states and facilities greater flexibility to monitor water more effectively.

In August 2005 and April 2006, EPA proposed to approve a number of new analytical methods. The proposed changes included:

  • adding EPA, vendor-developed methods, and VCSB methods in wastewater and
  • adding EPA methods in sewage sludge.

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Summary of Final Rule

This rule amends the Guidelines Establishing Test Procedures for the Analysis of Pollutants (at 40 CFR Part 136) to:

  • approve EPA methods and methods submitted by stakeholders for E. coli and enterococci for use in wastewater and
  • approve EPA methods for fecal coliforms and Salmonella in sewage sludge.

The addition of these methods offer a wider variety of options to conduct compliance monitoring.

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Additional Information and Copies

For further information concerning this rule, please contact Robin K. Oshiro (Oshiro.Robin@epa.gov) at the U.S. EPA Office of Water, Engineering and Analysis Division (4303T), 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20460.

Read the Federal Register notice (March 26, 2007).

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