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Alternative Monitoring Guidelines

Alternative Monitoring Guidelines are a tool to implement the 1996 Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act. The guidelines give states the option to provide statewide monitoring waivers.

Alternative Monitoring Guidelines are a tool to implement the 1996 Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act. These amendments increased the number of constituents that were required to be monitored for in Public Drinking Water. The guidelines gave states the option to provide statewide Chemical and Microbiological monitoring waivers. The Source Water Assessment and Protection program was implemented in the 1996 Amendments, providing assessments for every public water supply (PWS) in the state. These assessments gave PWS a high, medium, or low susceptibility rating for the likeliness of its source being contaminated. These assessments provided the information about the PWS to prove that it would be permissible for a waiver to be granted. Combining the resources of both the Source Water Assessment and Protection(SWAP) team and the Drinking Water Quality(DWQ) team allows for the guidelines to be successfully implemented. Both teams in the Public Drinking Water section play a vital role in the guidelines. The SWAP team provided the initial assessments to each PWS, in May 2003. The SWAP team looks at each PWS’s susceptibility based on a list of 227 contaminants, of primary, secondary, and potential to be monitored constituents. The DWQ team manages the data on chemical and microbiological monitoring requirements. The data is evaluated for the required monitored constituents that are allowed to be waived based on the results of the assessment. These monitoring waivers are statewide waivers for PWS that meet the guidelines for the waiver. Assessments and evaluations of the PWS are continuously being updated to provide for the most current possible contamination status of the PWS. Waivers are only allowed for constituents that have never had a record of being in the PWS’ water source, nor the potential for ever occurring in the water source.

The Alternative Monitoring Guidelines were provided to save the PWS money in required monitoring costs. Some contaminants that are unlikely to occur in PWS due to the nature of their occurrence, are quite expensive to have tested. The statewide waivers save the PWS lots of money in operating expense by waiving the required monitoring tests for these unlikely contaminants. Statewide millions and millions of dollars have been saved due to the chemical monitoring waivers. Microbiological waivers are not issued due to their importance as an indicator of the PWS water quality and system integrity.

To request more information on the Alternative Monitoring Guidelines, please contact the Public Drinking Water Section.