New Guidebook Covers Total Coliform Rule for Small, Noncommunity Water Systems

July 31, 2006

The U.S. EPA is promoting a new handbook to help owners and operators of small drinking water systems better understand the Total Coliform Rule under the Safe Drinking Water Act, according to the Water Quality Association.

Total Coliform Rule: A Handbook for Small Community Water Systems Serving Less Than 3,300 Persons is part of the agency’s Simple Tools for Effective Performance (STEP) series.

The handbook is designed for small, noncommunity water systems, a group that typically includes hospitals, schools, factories, office buildings, childcare centers, parks, restaurants, rest areas and some places of worship.

According to an EPA statement released July 29, 2006, nonpublic noncommunity water systems suffer under constraints not faced by larger systems, including financing limits, shortages of skilled personnel and physical isolation. The statement goes on to say: “These systems, in turn, are supported by outside water professionals: engineers, scientists, regulators, technical assistance providers and others. Each entity needs continued education and training that target its particular role in the reliable provision of safe drinking water at a reasonable cost and minimal burden. EPA has developed this up-to-date reference handbook with the intent of enhancing system capacity for prolonged infrastructure sustainability.”

The guidebook covers: the Total Coliform Rule; types of drinking water samples; sampling requirements; how to develop a sample siting plan; what to do if a sample tests positive for coliform bacteria; total Coliform Rule compliance flow chart; and Safe Drinking Water Act primary agency contacts.

Source: WQA