(a) Sample siting plans.
(1) Systems must develop a written sample siting plan that identifies sampling sites and a sample collection schedule that are representative of water throughout the distribution system not later than March 31, 2016. These plans are subject to State review and revision. Systems must collect total coliform samples according to the written sample siting plan. Monitoring required by §§ 141.854 through 141.858 may take place at a customer's premise, dedicated sampling station, or other designated compliance sampling location. Routine and repeat sample sites and any sampling points necessary to meet the requirements of subpart S must be reflected in the sampling plan.
(2) Systems must collect samples at regular time intervals throughout the month, except that systems that use only ground water and serve 4,900 or fewer people may collect all required samples on a single day if they are taken from different sites.
(3) Systems must take at least the minimum number of required samples even if the system has had an E. coli MCL violation or has exceeded the coliform treatment technique triggers in § 141.859(a).
(4) A system may conduct more compliance monitoring than is required by this subpart to investigate potential problems in the distribution system and use monitoring as a tool to assist in uncovering problems. A system may take more than the minimum number of required routine samples and must include the results in calculating whether the coliform treatment technique trigger in § 141.859(a)(1)(i) and (ii) has been exceeded only if the samples are taken in accordance with the existing sample siting plan and are representative of water throughout the distribution system.
(5) Systems must identify repeat monitoring locations in the sample siting plan. Unless the provisions of paragraphs (a)(5)(i) or (a)(5)(ii) of this section are met, the system must collect at least one repeat sample from the sampling tap where the original total coliform-positive sample was taken, and at least one repeat sample at a tap within five service connections upstream and at least one repeat sample at a tap within five service connections downstream of the original sampling site. If a total coliform-positive sample is at the end of the distribution system, or one service connection away from the end of the distribution system, the system must still take all required repeat samples. However, the State may allow an alternative sampling location in lieu of the requirement to collect at least one repeat sample upstream or downstream of the original sampling site. Except as provided for in paragraph (a)(5)(ii) of this section, systems required to conduct triggered source water monitoring under § 141.402(a) must take ground water source sample(s) in addition to repeat samples required under this subpart.
(i) Systems may propose repeat monitoring locations to the State that the system believes to be representative of a pathway for contamination of the distribution system. A system may elect to specify either alternative fixed locations or criteria for selecting repeat sampling sites on a situational basis in a standard operating procedure (SOP) in its sample siting plan. The system must design its SOP to focus the repeat samples at locations that best verify and determine the extent of potential contamination of the distribution system area based on specific situations. The State may modify the SOP or require alternative monitoring locations as needed.
(ii) Ground water systems serving 1,000 or fewer people may propose repeat sampling locations to the State that differentiate potential source water and distribution system contamination (e.g., by sampling at entry points to the distribution system). A ground water system with a single well required to conduct triggered source water monitoring may, with written State approval, take one of its repeat samples at the monitoring location required for triggered source water monitoring under § 141.402(a) if the system demonstrates to the State's satisfaction that the sample siting plan remains representative of water quality in the distribution system. If approved by the State, the system may use that sample result to meet the monitoring requirements in both § 141.402(a) and this section.
(A) If a repeat sample taken at the monitoring location required for triggered source water monitoring is E. coli-positive, the system has violated the E. coli MCL and must also comply with § 141.402(a)(3). If a system takes more than one repeat sample at the monitoring location required for triggered source water monitoring, the system may reduce the number of additional source water samples required under § 141.402(a)(3) by the number of repeat samples taken at that location that were not E. coli-positive.
(B) If a system takes more than one repeat sample at the monitoring location required for triggered source water monitoring under § 141.402(a), and more than one repeat sample is E. coli-positive, the system has violated the E. coli MCL and must also comply with § 141.403(a)(1).
(C) If all repeat samples taken at the monitoring location required for triggered source water monitoring are E. coli-negative and a repeat sample taken at a monitoring location other than the one required for triggered source water monitoring is E. coli-positive, the system has violated the E. coli MCL, but is not required to comply with § 141.402(a)(3).
(6) States may review, revise, and approve, as appropriate, repeat sampling proposed by systems under paragraphs (a)(5)(i) and (ii) of this section. The system must demonstrate that the sample siting plan remains representative of the water quality in the distribution system. The State may determine that monitoring at the entry point to the distribution system (especially for undisinfected ground water systems) is effective to differentiate between potential source water and distribution system problems.
(b) Special purpose samples. Special purpose samples, such as those taken to determine whether disinfection practices are sufficient following pipe placement, replacement, or repair, must not be used to determine whether the coliform treatment technique trigger has been exceeded. Repeat samples taken pursuant to § 141.858 are not considered special purpose samples, and must be used to determine whether the coliform treatment technique trigger has been exceeded.
(c) Invalidation of total coliform samples. A total coliform-positive sample invalidated under this paragraph (c) of this section does not count toward meeting the minimum monitoring requirements of this subpart.
(i) The laboratory establishes that improper sample analysis caused the total coliform-positive result.
(ii) The State, on the basis of the results of repeat samples collected as required under § 141.858(a), determines that the total coliform-positive sample resulted from a domestic or other non-distribution system plumbing problem. The State cannot invalidate a sample on the basis of repeat sample results unless all repeat sample(s) collected at the same tap as the original total coliform-positive sample are also total coliform-positive, and all repeat samples collected at a location other than the original tap are total coliform-negative (e.g., a State cannot invalidate a total coliform-positive sample on the basis of repeat samples if all the repeat samples are total coliform-negative, or if the system has only one service connection).
(iii) The State has substantial grounds to believe that a total coliform-positive result is due to a circumstance or condition that does not reflect water quality in the distribution system. In this case, the system must still collect all repeat samples required under § 141.858(a), and use them to determine whether a coliform treatment technique trigger in § 141.859 has been exceeded. To invalidate a total coliform-positive sample under this paragraph, the decision and supporting rationale must be documented in writing, and approved and signed by the supervisor of the State official who recommended the decision. The State must make this document available to EPA and the public. The written documentation must state the specific cause of the total coliform-positive sample, and what action the system has taken, or will take, to correct this problem. The State may not invalidate a total coliform-positive sample solely on the grounds that all repeat samples are total coliform-negative.
(2) A laboratory must invalidate a total coliform sample (unless total coliforms are detected) if the sample produces a turbid culture in the absence of gas production using an analytical method where gas formation is examined (e.g., the Multiple-Tube Fermentation Technique), produces a turbid culture in the absence of an acid reaction in the Presence-Absence (P-A) Coliform Test, or exhibits confluent growth or produces colonies too numerous to count with an analytical method using a membrane filter (e.g., Membrane Filter Technique). If a laboratory invalidates a sample because of such interference, the system must collect another sample from the same location as the original sample within 24 hours of being notified of the interference problem, and have it analyzed for the presence of total coliforms. The system must continue to re-sample within 24 hours and have the samples analyzed until it obtains a valid result. The State may waive the 24-hour time limit on a case-by-case basis. Alternatively, the State may implement criteria for waiving the 24-hour sampling time limit to use in lieu of case-by-case extensions.