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Total Coliform Rule

This rule establishes microbiological standards and related monitoring requirements for all community and noncommunity water systems.

Bacteriological Sampling Procedure 

  1. Select a representative sampling point.  Make sure the faucet and tap are clean.  There should be no attachments on the faucet or tap. 
  2. Flame or bleach the tap using a propane torch or bleach (optional - based on system's knowledge and standard practices). 
  3. Run water a minimum of 5 minutes, or for time specified in sampling site plan, to flush line for fresh sample. 
  4. Remove cap from sample bottle.  Do not touch lip of bottle or inside of cap. 
  5. Fill bottle to the neck, leaving an air space at the top. 
  6. Recap bottle and secure cap tightly. 
  7. Complete laboratory form. 
  8. Submit sample to laboratory immediately.  The laboratory testing must begin within 30 hours of collecting the sample. 

Total Coliform Monitoring Frequency for
Community Water Supplies
 

Population Served 

Minimum Number of Samples Per Month 

25 to 1,001 

1 

1,001 to 2,500 

2 

2,501 to 3,300 

3 

3,301 to 4,100 

4 

4,101 to 4,900 

5 

4,901 to 5,800 

6 

5,801 to 6,700 

7 

6,701 to 7,600 

8 

7,601 to 8,500 

9 

8,501 to 12,900 

10 

12,901 to 17,200 

15 

17,201 to 21,500 

20 

21,501 to 25,000 

25 

25,001 to 33,000 

30 

33,001 to 41,000 

40 

41,001 to 50,000 

50 

50,001 to 59,000 

60 

59,001 to 70,000 

70 

70,001 to 83,000 

80 

83,001 to 96,000 

90 

96,001 to 130,000 

100 

130,001 to 220,000 

120 

220,001 to 320,000 

150 

320,001 to 450,000 

180 

450,001 to 600,000 

210 

600,001 to 780,000 

240 

780,001 to 970,000 

270 

970,001 to 1,230,000 

300 

1,230,001 to 1,520,000 

330 

1,520,001 to 1,850,000 

360 

1,850,001 to 2,270,000 

390 

2,270,001 to 3,020,000 

420 

3,020,001 to 3,960,000 

450 

3,960,001 or more 

480 

On February 13, 2013, EPA published in the Federal Register the revisions to the 1989 TCR.  Look for it on the U.S. EPA Revised Total Coliform Rule Web page at http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/rulesregs/sdwa/tcr/regulation_revisions.cfm.  EPA anticipates greater public health protection under the Revised Total Coliform Rule (RTCR) requirements.  The RTCR:
  • Requires public water systems that are vulnerable to microbial contamination to identify and fix problems; and
  • Establishes criteria for systems to qualify for and stay on reduced monitoring, which could reduce water system burden and provide incentives for better system operation.

Public water systems must comply with the revised requirements by April, 2016.  Until then, PWSs must continue complying with the 1989 TCR.

Related Content
 •  Public Notification Rule
 •  Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act (Act 399, P.A. 1976) PDF icon
 •  Current Drinking Water Standards
 •  Administrative Fines
 •  Consumer Confidence Report Rule
 •  Lead and Copper Rule
 •  Rule Promulgation
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