Frequent Questions

What are the key provisions PWSs must comply with under the RTCR?

Provision Category

Key Provisions

Contaminant Level

  • Addresses the presence of total coliforms and E. coli in drinking water.
  • For E. coli (EC), the Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) is set at zero        and the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) is based on the occurrence of a        condition that includes routine and repeat samples. 
  • For total coliforms (TC), PWSs must conduct a Level 1 or Level 2 assessment of their system when they exceed a specified frequency of total coliform        occurrence. Other events such as an MCL violation or failure to take repeat samples following a routine total coliform-positive sample will also trigger an assessment. Any sanitary defects identified during an assessment must be corrected by the PWS. These are the treatment technique requirements of the RTCR.


  • Develop and follow a sample siting plan that designates the PWS's collection        schedule and location of routine and repeat water samples.
  • Collect routine water samples on a regular basis (monthly, quarterly, annually)        and have them tested for the presence of total coliforms by a state certified laboratory.
  • Analyze all routine or repeat samples that are total coliform positive (TC+) for        E. coli.
  • Collect repeat samples (at least 3) for each TC+ positive routine sample.
  • For PWSs on quarterly or annual routine sampling, collect additional routine        samples (at least 3) in the month after a TC+ routine or repeat sample.
  • Seasonal systems must monitor and certify the completion of a state-approved        start-up procedures

Level 1 and Level 2   Assessments and Corrective Actions

  • PWSs are required to conduct a Level 1 or Level 2 assessment if certain        conditions indicate that they might be vulnerable to contamination, and fix any sanitary defects within a required timeframe.

Reporting and   Recordkeeping

  • PWSs are required to report certain items to their states. These reporting and recordkeeping requirements are essentially the same as under TCR with the addition of Level 1 and Level 2 requirements.

Violations, Public   Notification (PN) and Consumer Confidence Report (CCR)

  • PWSs incur violations if they do not comply with the requirements of the        RTCR. The violation types are essentially the same as under the TCR with few changes. The biggest change is no acute or monthly MCL violation for total coliform positive samples only.
  • PN is required for violations incurred. Within required timeframes, the PWS        must use the required health effects language and notify the public if they did not comply with certain requirements of the RTCR. The type of  PN depends on the severity of the violation.
  • Community water systems (CWSs) must use specific language in their CCRs when they must conduct an assessment or if they incur an E. coli MCL violation.
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