Ground Water Rule
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EPA issued the Ground Water Rule (GWR) to improve drinking water quality and provide protection from disease-causing microorganisms. Water systems that have ground water sources may be susceptible to fecal contamination. In many cases, fecal contamination can contain disease causing pathogens. The purpose of the Ground Water Rule (GWR) is to reduce disease incidence associated with harmful microorganisms in drinking water.
The GWR applies to public water systems that use ground water as a source of drinking water. The rule also applies to any system that delivers surface and ground water to consumers where the ground water is added to the distribution system without treatment. The GWR was published in the Federal Register on November 8, 2006.
Quick Reference Guides to Ground Water Rule (GWR)
- Ground Water Rule: A Quick Reference Guide (PDF)(2 pp, 795 K, About PDF) EPA 816-F-08-029, July 2008
- Ground Water Rule Compliance Monitoring: A Quick Reference Guide (PDF)(2 pp, 369 K, About PDF) EPA 815-F-08-008, July 2008
- Ground Water Rule Sample Collection and Transport: A Quick Reference Guide (PDF)(2 pp, 632 K, About PDF) EPA 815-F-08-007, July 2008
- Ground Water Rule Triggered and Representative Monitoring: A Quick Reference Guide (PDF)(3 pp, 1000 K, About PDF) EPA 815-F-08-004, July 2008
For other quick reference guides visit the drinking water standards - quick reference guides page.
The Ground Water Rule (GWR) was signed by the EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson on October 11, 2006. EPA published the GWR in the Federal Register on November 08, 2006. The GWR provides protection against microbial pathogens in public water systems using ground water sources.
- Federal Register Notice: Final Ground Water Rule 71 FR 65574 (November 8, 2006)
- Federal Register Notice: Ground Water Rule Correction 75 FR 15499 (November 21, 2006) A correction to the table on Analytical Methods for Source Water Monitoring was published in the Federal Register November 21, 2006.
GWR Supporting Documents – The following documents have been developed to support the final rule-making.
- Occurrence and Monitoring Document for the Final Ground Water Rule (PDF)(160 pp, 1000 K, About PDF) EPA 815-R-06-012, October 2006
- Technology and Cost Document for the Final Ground Water Rule (PDF)(167 pp, 639 K, About PDF) EPA 815-R-06-015, OCtiber 2006
- Economic Analysis for the Ground Water Rule (PDF)(391 pp, 1000 K, About PDF) EPA 815-R-06-014, October 2006
Rule Making History
- Proposed Ground Water Rule (May 10, 2000)
- Proposed Ground Water Rule Fact Sheet (PDF)(2 pp, 67 K, About PDF)
- Regulatory Impact Analysis for the Proposed Ground Water Rule
Related Federal Register Notices
The GWR establishes a risk-based approach to target ground water systems vulnerable to fecal contamination. Ground water systems that are at risk of fecal contamination must take corrective action. Corrective action reduces potential illness from exposure to microbial pathogens. The rule applies to public water systems that use ground water as a source of drinking water.
The GWR’s targeted, risk-based strategy addresses risks through an approach that relies on four major components:
- Routine sanitary surveys of systems that require the evaluation of eight critical elements of a public water system and the identification of significant deficiencies (e.g., a well located near a leaking septic system);
- Triggered source water monitoring for a system that (not treating drinking water to remove 99.99 percent (4-log) of viruses) identifies a positive sample during regular Total Coliform monitoring or assessment monitoring (at the option of the state) targeted at high-risk systems;
- Corrective action is required for any system with a significant deficiency or source water fecal contamination; and
- Compliance monitoring to ensure that treatment technology installed to treat drinking water reliably achieves 99.99 percent (4-log) inactivation or removal of viruses.