EPA Issues Revised Total Coliform Rule

Public water systems must comply with the revised requirements by April 16, 2016

Revised Total Coliform Rule EPA Water Systems Compliance Regulations

On Feb.13, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in the Federal Register the revisions to the 1989 Total Coliform Rule (TCR).

The Revised TCR (RTCR), which applies to all public water systems (approximately 154,000 in the U.S.), offers an opportunity for greater public health protection against waterborne pathogens while at the same time reducing implementation burden for water systems. The rule is based on the EPA’s consideration of public comments and recommendations from the total coliform distribution system advisory committee, which consisted of a broad range of stakeholder groups, including states, environmental groups, utilities, and public health and public interest groups.

EPA anticipates greater public health protection under the RTCR requirements. The RTCR:

  • Requires public water systems that are vulnerable to microbial contamination to identify and fix problems; and
  • Establishes criteria for systems to qualify for and stay on reduced monitoring, which could reduce water system burden and provide incentives for better system operation.

Public water systems and primacy agencies must comply with the revised requirements by April 2016. Until then, they must continue complying with the 1989 TCR. 

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