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Water: CWA Methods

Fact Sheet

Guidelines Establishing Test Procedures for the Analysis of Pollutants Under the Clean Water Act; National Primary Drinking Water Regulations; and National Secondary Drinking Water Regulations; Analysis, Sampling, and Monitoring Procedures; Proposed Rule

Fact Sheet (EPA-821-F-03-019) December 2003

Clean Water Act Regulations
Safe Drinking Water Act Regulations
Microbiological ATP Protocol
Additional Information and Copies

EPA is proposing changes to sampling and analysis procedures under Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act compliance monitoring programs. The proposal approves several new analytical methods for compliance monitoring and withdraws older EPA methods, CFC-113 based oil and grease methods and methods with technical deficiencies. In addition, EPA is proposing new sample collection procedures, general analytical requirements for multi-analyte methods, and method flexibility requirements for its Clean Water Act programs. The Agency also is soliciting comment on the Agency's microbiological alternate test procedure guidance document.


EPA approves sampling procedures and analytical methods used by industrial and municipal facilities to determine chemical, microbiological, and radiological components of wastewater and whole effluent toxicity (WET) under the Clean Water Act (CWA). EPA also approves methods for determining drinking water contaminants to monitor compliance with Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) regulations. In addition, EPA develops guidance for the alternate test procedure (ATP) program that can be used by method vendors to assess the comparability of their methods to EPA approved and recommended methods. Today's action proposes, for efforts under the CWA, the approval and withdrawal of certain methods, revision of some sampling procedures, and addition of new method flexibility guidelines. For efforts under the SDWA, we are proposing adding and withdrawing methods for SDWA monitoring. We are also soliciting comment on EPA's Microbiological ATP protocol guidance.

Clean Water Act Regulations

Today's action proposes a number of analytical methods for CWA monitoring, including:

  • ATPs for the determination of anions, cyanide, phenolics, and WET (Microtox). Microtox will introduce a new phylogenetic group (bacteria) to the WET monitoring program.

  • Methods previously proposed on October 18, 1995 (60 FR 53987). These methods are being re-proposed to comply with the National Technology Transfer Advancement Act of 1996 and to request information from the public on the use of these methods under interim approvals issued since 1995.

  • EPA Method 245.7 for the determination of mercury.

  • New methods developed by voluntary consensus standard bodies that stakeholders have requested.

  • Updates currently approved EPA WET methods, 70 ASTM Methods, and 85 Standard Methods On-line.

Other proposed additions include modifying some methods (e.g., approving new standards for turbidity methods), clarifying analytical requirements for multi-analyte methods, and establishing guidelines for increased method flexibility for CWA monitoring.

Today's action also proposes to withdraw most methods published in the 1983 methods manual Methods for the Chemical Analysis of Water and Wastes (MCAWW), liquid-liquid extraction methods for dichlorobenzenes, and CFC-113 based oil and grease methods. Where MCAWW methods are withdrawn, alternative test procedures published by EPA or other organizations (e.g., ASTM, Standard Methods) will be provided. Non-liquid-liquid extraction methods are currently approved for determination of dichlorobenzene. Finally, n-hexane based methods are currently approved alternatives for to CFC-method for determination of oil and grease.

With regard to sampling requirements, today's action proposes new and revised sample collection and storage procedures. We are making these changes to correct inconsistencies between sampling requirements at 40 CFR 122, 136, and 403; to make requirements reflect current scientific understanding (e.g., extending holding times or changing to superior sample preservatives based on available data); and to clarify existing requirements.

We are also making general editorial changes to increase the utility of the CFR. For example, we are moving the table of approved methods in the pesticide chemicals industrial subcategory (40 CFR 455) to 40 CFR 136 in order to consolidate lists of approved methods.

Safe Drinking Water Act Regulations

Today's action proposes a number of analytical methods for SDWA monitoring, including:

  • Three ATP's for the determination of available cyanide, anions, and free chlorine.

  • EPA Method 327.0 for determination of chlorine dioxide.

  • Updated revisions of 24 ASTM Methods and 52 Standard Methods On-line.

Due to reported problems with method interferences, EPA also proposes to withdraw Syngenta Method AG-625 for the determination of atrazine by immunoassay.

Microbiological ATP Protocol

EPA is soliciting comments on the EPA Microbiological Alternate Test Procedure (ATP) Protocol for Drinking Water, Ambient Water, and Wastewater Monitoring Methods - Guidance (July 2003, EPA-821-B-03-004). The Protocol is draft guidance for the evaluating microbiological ATPs. It was referenced in the July 21, 2003, rule promulgating methods for analyzing microbiological contaminants in ambient waters (July 21, 2003, 68 FR 43272). EPA does not plan to codify the protocol, but is interested in receiving comments to consider in future revisions.

Additional Information and Copies

For further information about the wastewater portion of this proposal, please contact Marion Kelly at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water, Engineering and Analysis Division (4303T), 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. 20460; (e-mail: Kelly.Marion@epa.gov).

For information about the drinking water portion of this proposal contact Herbert J. Brass at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water, Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water, Cincinnati, Ohio 45268 ; (e-mail: Brass.Herb@epa.gov).

For information about the Microbiological ATP Protocol, please contact Robin Oshiro at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water, Engineering and Analysis Division (4303T), 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. 20460; (e-mail: Oshiro.Robin@epa.gov).

The complete text of the Federal Register notice may be viewed or downloaded on the Internet at http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/methods.

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