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12 Alternative Drinking Water Methods Approved

November 2nd, 2010

Drinking Water Methods Approved by EPAThe EPA has approved 12 drinking water testing methods for samples subject to the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). These methods are used in measuring levels of potential contaminants.

Method Contaminant (s)
EPA Method 5571 Dalapon
SM 6640 B (Standard Methods, 21st Edition) Dalapon
SM 6640 B-01 (Standard Methods On-Line) Dalapon
ASTM Method D3454-05 Radium-226
ASTM Method D2460-07 Radium-226
ASTM Method D5174-07 Uranium
ASTM Method D3649-06 Radioactive Cesium and Iodine and Gamma Emitters
ASTM Method D4785-08 Radioactive Iodine and Gamma Emitters
ASTM Method D4107-08 Tritium
Readycult® (EMD Chemicals) E. coli (Ground Water Rule)
Chromocult® (EM Science) E. coli (Ground Water Rule)
Modified Colitag™ (CPI International) E. coli (Ground Water Rule)

1This method was already approved for the measurement of Haloacetic Acids and Bromate in drinking water

EPA Method 557 is an IC/MS/MS (an ion chromatograph, tandom mass spectrometer) method that allows for analysis of haloacetic acids, bromate and dalapon in a single procedure. The sample preparation procedures under this method are considered less onerous than those required by other approved methods for these analytes. They also use less solvent and potentially hazardous chemicals.

Both SM Method 6640 B and SM 6640 B 01 are identical GC/ECD (gas chromatograph with an electron capture detector) methods. SM 6640 B 01 is an on-line version of SM 6640 B. Both of these methods use sample handling protocols, analytical conditions and quality control (QC) criteria identical to those used by EPA Method 515.4, which is already approved for analyzing compliance samples for dalapon.

All six ASTM methods listed above for radioactive analytes are revisions of currently approved methods. The differences are editorial changes, like updated references and reorganization of text, and the expansion and increased detail of the QC requirements.

The EPA previously approved Readycult® made by EMD Chemicals, Chromocult® made by EM Science, and Modified Colitag™ made by CPI International for testing for E. coli in water and wastewater samples under the Total Coliform Rule (TCR), but not under the Ground Water Rule (GWR). They have now been evaluated under the EPA’s Alternative Test Procedure program and found to be as equally effective as SM 9221 F, which is currently approved for E. coli testing under the GWR.

The 12 approved methods were found to be as effective as those previously approved for specific analytes. These optional, alternative methods were approved using the EPA’s streamlined approval authority to increase analytical flexibility for public drinking water systems, laboratories and primary agencies. The EPA stated that this, in turn, may help “reduce monitoring costs while maintaining public health protection.”

The addition of these new methods will provide increased flexibility to entities that must perform testing to meet SDWA standards.

For more information on Standard Methods, visit  For more on ASTM methods, visit

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2 Responses to “12 Alternative Drinking Water Methods Approved”

  1. Jagadish Mishra Says:

    Kindly give me drinking water testing procedures for our lab of DWTP (450 m3/hr)

  2. admin Says:

    Hi Jagadish,

    All testing procedures can be downloaded from the EPA’s Drinking water site. The necessary procedures for your system are set by your regulatory agency.

    Thank you,

    Columbia Analytical Services, Inc.
    Now part of the ALS Group

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