UCMR 5 Fact Sheet - Frequently Asked Questions

An ALS guide to understanding UCMR 5 and its requirements

23 OCT 2023 ALS


Update: On August 17, the EPA released the first set of data from the UCMR 5. This data set represent only 7% of the data under the program. In the first release 431 sites were found to have levels of PFAS in their drinking water above the Health Advisory Levels (HAs) from the EPA1. Health advisory limits only exist for 5 of the compounds included in the Program: Lithium, HFPO-DA, PFBS, PFOS and PFOA.

Highlights from the EPA report:

  • 22.1% or 494 of the PWSs had lithium above the reference level in their sample(s).
  • 8.5 % or 170 of the PWSs had PFOS above the reference level in their sample(s).
  • 7.8% or 156 of the PWSs had PFOA above the reference level in their sample(s).
  • 1 PWS had HFPO-DA above the reference value in their sample(s).
  • Nine other PFAS compound were detected in samples submitted in the first round. Numbers of PWSs with positive hits ranges from one for PFDA to 207 for PFPeA.
  • Final 16 PFAS compounds were not detected in any samples.

This guide will provide you with an overview of UCMR 5, including what it is, how to get UCMR 5 sampling instructions, and what the requirements are. We will also discuss the benefits of working with a UCMR 5 certified laboratory to ensure that your business is in compliance with all applicable regulations.


What is UCMR 5?

UCMR-5 stands for Fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule. Every 5 years, the EPA initiates a new program targeting contaminants that may be present in drinking water. Past UCMR programs have included contaminants like metals, pesticides, chlorinated aliphatics, 1,4-dioxane and certain PFAS compounds. UCMR 5 will target 29 PFAS compounds and 1 metal, lithium (Li).


Who must perform sampling and testing under UCMR 5?

All public water systems (PWSs) need to perform sampling and testing for the 30 compounds within the program during 2023-2025. UCMR 5 Monitoring Scope from EPA’s website:

System Size (# of people served) PWSs participating in UCMR 5
Small Systems (fewer than 3,300) 800 randomly selected surface water (SW), ground water under the direct influence of surface water (GWUDI), mixed sources (MX) and ground water (GW) systems
Small Systems (3,300 – 10,000) All SW, GWUDI, MX, and GW systems
Large Systems (10,001 and over)


What testing is required for UCMR 5?

30 compounds are required for UCMR 5. This includes 29 PFAS compounds and 1 metal, Lithium (Li). 25 PFAS compounds will be analyzed by EPA method 533 and 4 compounds by EPA method 537.1. Lithium required analysis is by EPA method 200.7. Chemical names and abbreviations of contaminants, and Minimum Reporting Levels (MRLs):


What is the cost of UCMR 5 Testing?

  • All PWS serving >3300 persons will be responsible for payments.
  • Small PWSs <3300 people will be included in the EPA program

The cost for testing will vary depending on number of sample entry points. Contact us for a customized quote.


How do I get UCMR 5 sampling instructions and sampling bottles?

ALS laboratories can provide the bottle kits needed for each sampling point and specific sampling instructions. PFAS compounds are measured at trace levels and are detected in several consumer products, so specific bottles and sample handling are needed to avoid cross contamination.


Is ALS a UCMR 5 approved laboratory?

ALS Holland, MI and ALS Kelso, WA are UCMR 5 EPA approved laboratories. They can provide the bottle kits needed for each sampling point and specific sampling instructions. Results will be emailed to you within 3 weeks of receiving the samples at the laboratory.

ALS will also upload results to an EPA database upon request.


To partner with ALS for your UCMR 5 needs, contact us for more details or to request sampling supplies.