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Lower High Falls, Talladega Forest - Bill Wilson
Drinking Water

21st Annual Surface Water Meeting

NEW Consumer Confidence Report Certification Form

The ADEM Drinking Water Branch works closely with the more than 700 water systems in Alabama that provide safe drinking water to 4 million citizens. Each month the bacteriological quality of the drinking water being provided is tested by the individual systems with the results submitted to ADEM for review and approval. Both quarterly and annually certain chemical contaminants are analyzed to ensure that the drinking water meets all established drinking water standards. Routinely, water systems in Alabama maintain a high compliance rate with drinking water standards of approximately 94%.

The excellent quality of drinking water and a high compliance rate of public drinking water systems can be attributed to numerous factors including mandatory operator certification that requires adequately trained operators to treat the drinking water, properly constructed and maintained drinking water treatment facilities that can only be constructed with a permit from ADEM, and a high quality of both surface water and ground water that is protected through numerous activities of the Department including the Wellhead Protection Program and the NPDES Discharge Permit Program. The Drinking Water Branch annually reviews more than 150 sets of plans and specifications for water construction projects, performs final inspections, and also provides annual inspections of all public water systems. (Technical assistance is also provided to managers and operators regarding new and proposed drinking water requirements.)

ADEM annually provides a compliance report listing all water system violations that have occurred. In addition, water systems are required to provide an Annual Consumer Confidence Report to its customers no later than July 1 each year, providing information on contaminants that have been detected in the drinking water, status of source water assessments, source of drinking water and treatment processes, and general information regarding board meeting dates and locations. All systems with drinking water sources have recently completed or will soon complete an assessment of contaminant activities which may impact drinking water quality. Upon completion of Source Water assessments by water systems, public meetings will be held to provide information to their consumers regarding the potential for contamination of their drinking water sources and identifying what steps are being taken to protect their drinking water sources.

Preparations for Drought, Hurricane or Other Possible Water Supply Disruption

Alabama Water and Wastewater Rates Dashboard

Other Drinking Water Information

Determining Lead Levels in Drinking Water in Pre-K through 12 Public Schools
In an effort to promote public confidence and to help schools minimize students’ and staffs’ exposure to possible high levels of lead in drinking water, the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) in conjunction with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) will assist all Pre-K through 12 public school systems with voluntary testing for lead in drinking water over the next three years (link to press release).

Below is a copy of the Master and Sampling plans for voluntary testing of lead in drinking water at Pre-K through 12 public schools in Alabama:
Lead Testing at Schools Master Plan
Lead Testing at Schools Sampling Plan

Electronic Drinking Water Reporting System (eDWRS)
  • The eDWRS provides drinking water facilities with a way to submit MOR, CCR, DWR data and Plans and Specifications. It will also allow ADEM to electronically validate the data, acknowledge receipt, and upload data to the state's central drinking water database. The system can be found at: http://adem.alabama.gov/edwr
  • Implementing this new system will reach the goal of improving the management of data associated with the Department's drinking water monitoring program. The eDWR system will:
    • Save drinking water facilities compliance costs with a streamlined reporting method and readily available computer tools.
    • Save programmatic costs by reducing resources required for managing paper-based MOR, CCR, DWR reports and Plans and Specifications.
    • Improve the accuracy of compliance data by eliminating potential errors that will be otherwise introduced through manual data entry.
    • Improve the state drinking water programs' overall effectiveness while offering less process to the regulated community.

Lead and Copper Rule (LCR)
EPA promulgated the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) in 1991, and ADEM adopted the rule in 1992. Implementation of this rule is a critical component of ADEM's efforts to protect public health and ensure the safety of our state's drinking water. The following information outlines how the LCR is implemented and identifies ways for the public to find information about the quality of its drinking water.
  • The LCR has four basic requirements:
      1. Require water systems to optimize their treatment system to control corrosion in the distribution system and the customer's plumbing;
      2. Determine tap water levels of lead and copper for customers who have lead service lines or lead-based solder in their plumbing system;
      3. Rule out the source water as a source of significant lead levels; and
      4. If lead action levels are exceeded, the water system is required to take additional actions, which may include:
        a. Developing and implementing a plan to optimize corrosion control in the finished drinking water;
        b. Educating their customers about lead and suggesting actions they can take to reduce their exposure to lead through public notices and public education programs;
        c. Replacing the portions of lead service lines under the system's control; and
        d. Offering to replace lead service lines under their customers' control at an equitable cost to the customer.

  • The LCR requires water systems to monitor at least every 3 years. Some water systems monitor more frequently. The water system selects the sites based on criteria set out in the rule. The criteria for the lead and copper sampling sites are:
      1. Tier 1 sites--These sites include single family structures containing lead pipe or plumbing, are served by a lead service line, or contain copper pipes with lead solder and were constructed after 1982.
      2. Tier 2 sites--These sites include buildings and multiple family residences containing lead pipe or plumbing, are served by a lead service line, or contain copper pipes with lead solder and were constructed after 1982.
      3. Tier 3 sites--These sites include single family structures containing copper pipes with lead solder which were constructed prior to 1983.

  • The LCR prescribes a specific sampling protocol for water systems to utilize for collecting lead and copper samples at a residence or business (see below).
      1. Tap monitoring (collecting a water sample from a faucet) for lead and copper shall be the first draw and one liter in volume.
      2. The water shall stand motionless in the plumbing system for at least six hours prior to collection. Pre-stagnation flushing shall not be performed.
      3. Collection shall be from the cold water kitchen tap or bathroom sink tap from tier 1 sites or from an interior tap typically used for obtaining water for consumption from tier 2 and tier 3 sites.
      4. Aerators shall not be removed from taps or cleaned prior to or during the collection of samples.
      5. Wide-mouth bottles shall be used to collect samples to allow for a higher flow rate during sample collection which is more representative of the flow that a consumer may use to fill a glass of water.
      6. Monitoring may be conducted by the resident after proper instructions and procedures have been provided by the water system.
      7. Follow up tap monitoring shall be conducted from the same sites.
      8. Should a site no longer be available, an alternate acceptable site may be selected which is in reasonable proximity of the original site.
      9. Taps used for monitoring may not include faucets that have point of use or treatment devices installed.

  • EPA published a memo clarifying recommended tap sampling procedure for the LCR on February 29, 2016, to provide recommendations on how public water systems should address the removal of cleaning aerators, pre-stagnation flushing, and bottle configuration for the purpose of the LCR.

  • More information on the LCR can be found on EPA's website at: http://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/lead-and-copper-rule.

  • EPA's LCR Quick Reference Guide can be found at: LCR Quick Reference Guide

  • EPA's Optimal Corrosion Control Treatment Evaluation Technical Recommendations webpage provides information to help primacy agencies and systems comply with corrosion control treatment (CCT) requirements of the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR), including designation of Optimal Corrosion Control Treatment (OCCT).

  • More information specifically about your drinking water system can be found in your water system's Annual Consumer Confidence Report (Water Quality Report) available at your water system or on its website. These reports are also submitted to ADEM, so they are available in ADEM's eFile system. You can also find information at EPAs Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) web site at: https://echo.epa.gov/

Groundwater Rule
  • EPA has finalized the Groundwater Rule. More information can be found on EPA's website at: http://water.epa.gov/drink/index.cfm.
  • The rule requires all ground water systems to either install or demonstrate 4-log removal of virus and bacteria or conduct source water monitoring as required by the rule.
    • Systems that demonstrate or install 4-log removal of virus and bacteria must monitoring the chlorine residual daily for systems with a population of < 10,000 or continuously for systems with a population > 10,000.
    • Equipment and/or monitoring must be conducted at each point of chlorine addition.
    • Systems unable to demonstrate or install 4-log treatment must conduct monthly source water monitoring to demonstrate compliance with the rule.
      • Any positive bacteriological sample taken from the distribution systems as required to meet the requirements of the Total Coliform Rule must within 24 hours take a raw water sample from each ground water source in use.
      • Any positive bacteriological sample found in a purchase system will require the parent system to collect bacteriological samples from each ground water source in use.
    • Any triggered source water monitoring that is positive for E-coli or fecal coliform will require public notification
    • The Groundwater Rule has several other requirements that may affect ground water systems.

  • EPA has finalized the Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2ESWTR). More information can be found on EPA's website at: www.epa.gov/safewater/lt2/index.html or a prepublication version of the rules can be found at www.epa.gov/safewater/new.html. The rule was published in the Federal Register in January 2006.
  • The rule requires public water systems utilizing surface water sources or ground water under the influence of surface water to monitor for cryptosporidium in the source water. Based upon the results, the systems will be classified into bins which may require additional treatment to be added to achieve the required removal.
  • The rule required a large number of surface water systems to submit a monitoring plan by July 1, 2006 which contained specific monitoring dates and to begin monitoring for cryptosporidium by October 1, 2006.

Disinfection Byproduct Rule 2
  • EPA has finalized the Disinfection Byporduct Rule. More information can be found on EPA's website at: www.epa.gov/safewater/stage2/index.html or a prepublication version of the rules can be found at: www.epa.gov/safewater/new.html. The rule was published in the Federal Register in January 2006.
  • The rule changed the current limits on four Trihalomethanes (TTHM) and five Haloacetic acids (HAA5).
    • The rule requires water systems, based upon their population, to conduct an Initial Distribution System Evaluation (IDSE).
    • Water systems have to comply with the IDSE requires based upon the schedule of the largest water system in the combined distribution system unless the water system qualifies for a very small system waiver or for 40/30 Certification.
      • Schedule 1 contains 200 water systems.
      • Schedule 2 contains 15 water systems.
      • Schedule 3 contains 85 water systems.
      • Schedule 4 contains 281 water systems.
    • Water systems in schedule 1 will had to submit a monitoring plan to EPA by October 1, 2006 and began monitoring October 1, 2007.
    • Each subsequent schedule will be 6 months behind the previous schedule (i.e. schedule 2 had to have monitoring plans to EPA by April 1, 2007.
    • Compliance with the locational running annual averages of 80 for TTHM and 60 for HAA5 will begin in 2012.
    • Please contact your system inspector to determine what schedule your system will have to comply with.
    • Water systems are now required to monitor compliance with disinfection byproducts (DBPs) using a locational rolling annual average (LRAA) rather than the rolling annual average (RAA) in Stage 1.
    • Draft Water Treatment Plant Quaterly Report for Stage 2 (Form 547)

Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR)

The 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) amendments require that once every five years EPA issue a new list of no more than 30 unregulated contaminants to be monitored by public water systems (PWSs).  The Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR) provides EPA and other interested parties with scientifically valid data on the occurrence of contaminants in drinking water.  This data serves as a primary source of occurrence and exposure information that the agency uses to develop regulatory decisions to protect public health.

The third and most recent Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR-3) was published on May 2, 2012. UCMR-3 requires monitoring for 30 contaminants (28 chemicals and two viruses) between 2013 and 2015 using analytical methods developed by EPA, consensus organizations, or both.  Below are the contaminants listed in UCMR-3:

UCMR-3 Contaminant List
Assessment Monitoring List 1 Contaminants Screening Survey (List 2 Contaminants) Pre-Screen Testing3 (List 3 Contaminants)
Bromochloromethane (Halon 1011)
Bromomethane (Methyl Bromide)
Chlorodifluoromethane (HCFC- 22)
Chloromethane (Methyl Chloride)
Perfluorobutanesulfonic Acid (PFBS)
Perfluoroheptanoic Acid (PFHpA)
Perfluorohexanesulfonic Acid (PFHxS)
Perfluorononanoic Acid (PFNA)
Perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid (PFOS)
Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA)
1 Monitoring for total chromium, in conjunction with UCMR-3 Assessment Monitoring, is required under the authority provided in Section 1445 (a)(1)(A) of SDWA.
2 Chromium-6 will be measured as soluble chromate (ion).
3 Monitoring for microbial indicators, in conjunction with Pre-Screen Testing, will be conducted, including: total coliforms, E.coli, bacteriophage, Enterococci and aerobic spores. EPA will pay for all sampling and analysis costs for the small systems selected for this monitoring.

The UCMR program divides the contaminants into three types of monitoring: Assessment Monitoring (List 1), Screening Survey (List 2), and Pre-Screen Testing (List 3). UCMR-3 included the following criteria for selecting PWSs to collect samples from each list:
  • Assessment Monitoring (List 1): All PWSs serving more than 100,000 people and 800 representative PWSs serving 10,000 or fewer people will monitor for 21 chemicals during a 12-month period from 2013-2015. (Alabama had 122 PWSs collect samples from List 1).

  • Screening Survey (List 2):All PWSs serving more than 100,000 people, a representative sample of 320 large PWSs serving 10,001 to 100,000, and a representative sample of 480 small PWSs serving 10,000 or fewer people will monitor for seven chemicals during a 12-month period from 2013-2105. (Alabama had 18 PWSs collect samples from List 2).

  • Pre-Screening Testing (List 3): A representative selection of 800 undisinfected ground water PWSs serving 1,000 or fewer people will participate in monitoring for two viruses and related pathogen indicators during a 12-month period from 2013-2015. (No Alabama PWSs met the criteria for collecting samples on List 3).
The results from the UCMR monitoring can be found at EPA's webpage entitled Occurrence Data for the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule. Additional information about UCMR-3 may be found on EPA's UCMR-3 Webpage, which includes a general UCMR-3 Fact Sheet. Please note that if a PWS monitoring for UCMR‑3 found contaminants in its drinking water, it would have included the information in its annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR). The CCR is provided to PWS customers and is also available in ADEM's eFile system.

Contact Information

Attn: Drinking Water Branch
Post Office Box 301463
Montgomery, Alabama 36130-1463
(334) 271-7773
(334) 279-3051 Fax