Frequent Questions

What are the public notification requirements for a violation of the EPA standard for total coliform bacteria in drinking water?

If a sample tests positive for coliforms, the public water system must collect a set of repeat samples within 24 hours. When a routine or repeat sample tests positive for total coliforms, it must also be analyzed for fecal coliforms or E. coli. A positive result to this secondary test signifies an acute risk to health, which necessitates state and public notification as soon as practical but no later than 24 hours after the system learns of the violation (40 CFR 141.63(b), 141.202). When more than five percent of the samples test positive for total coliforms, but negative for fecal coliforms and E. coli, the public water system must notify the public as soon as practical, but no later than 30 days after the system learns of the violation (40 CFR 141.203).
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