Water Quality supervisors and their staff are tasked with making sure their utility remains compliant with all drinking water regulations. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set regulatory limits on over 90 contaminants in drinking water. Additionally, the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) allows states to enforce EPA limits and approves states to further develop their own drinking water standards, provided state’s standards meet the minimum Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) established by EPA. Regulatory agencies expect utilities to know and understand sampling requirements; regulatory limits and triggers; reporting requirements; and the additional monitoring actions required when there is an exceedance of a limit or MCL. Missed monitoring or exceedance of a regulatory limit often results in Public Notification events – something to be avoid at all cost! The public’s perception of a utility can quickly diminish when a public notification event occurs.
Sample collection at various locations within a utility can be a daunting task. Sampling schedules for a groundwater well site, or at a drinking water treatment plant, often include multiple site visits throughout the year. Some sites require weekly, monthly, quarterly, annual, and/or 3, 6, 9-year monitoring frequencies. Samples must be collected for inorganic, organic, bacteriological, and radionuclides constituents and may include process water samples.
SAMSWater was developed to manage complex monitoring schedules by using Projects and Criticality Schedules. But what happens when an MCL violation occurs or an established limit for a given constituent is exceeded? Many utilities rely on their laboratory(s) to notify them of exceedances, which is a state requirement established by laboratory accreditation agencies. Unfortunately, many utilities also expect the laboratory to advise them on corrective actions to take, which may fall outside of their expertise.
SAMSWater has developed compliance Rules that tests every imported data point for exceedances. When limits are exceeded, alerts are sent to users using Dashboards and/or E-mails. Alerts include guidance on state notification and/or resampling requirements based on regulations. Rules are robust enough to determine if the data is an initial sample or a repeat sample.
Compliance rules are specific for inorganic (IOC), volatile organic compounds (VOC), synthetic organic compounds (SOC), radionuclides (RADs), and nitrate compounds. A straightforward example would be the Nitrate Rule for annual monitoring of Nitrate (as N). Rules test all new nitrate data for fifty percent exceedance along with exceeding the MCL- established at 10 mg/L. A site where the annual nitrate value exceeds fifty percent would trigger notification to take a confirmation sample within 48-hrs. Results from the confirmation sample would then be averaged to determine if the 50%-limit has been exceeded. If so, the Annual Nitrate Project for that location would be updated to quarterly using User Dashboards within SAMS.
Rules are not limited to compliance, and utility specific rules can be created based on internal requirements. For example, a utility may want E-mail notification whenever a blending sample exceeds a trigger level.
Rules are one additional reason why SAMSWater users remain complaint with State and EPA regulations. Let us know how we can help solve your compliance and monitoring needs. Give us a call at 602-759-1905 to discuss how we can help to streamline your data.